In 1972, a jet airplane attempting to take off from Sacramento Executive Airport, crashed into a crowded Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor, killing 23 people and burning many others. A Sacramento firefighter, Gene LaVine, and eight members of his family died in the fiery crash.
Shortly after, Sacramento Fire Department Captain Cliff Haskell convinced the Sacramento Area Fire Fighters Local 522 to allow him to begin work establishing a specialized burn unit for the area. Cliff’s initial fundraising campaigns formed the FFBI in December 1973.
FFBI’s goal was to help establish a local burn treatment facility in the Sacramento area. Shortly after it’s founding, FFBI collaborated with physicians and administration at the University of California Davis Medical Center to open the UCDMC Regional Burn Center in January of 1974. Over the years, FFBI has expanded its mission to include burn research, public education, fire and burn prevention and burn recovery for survivors and their families, which extends far beyond the firefighting community to any and all burn survivors.
Firefighters are instrumental in the planning and execution of all programs and their involvement in the FFBI has been the hallmark of its success. Nearly five decades later, the FFBI participates in local recovery and educational outreach efforts and plays an active leadership role on a national level through its involvement in the Federation of Burn Foundations and the American Burn Association.