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Firefighters fix up burned boy's family car

December 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A group of Anaheim firefighters came together to give a special holiday gift to a local family going through some tough times. They fixed the family's old car so they could take their son, a burn victim, to his many medical appointments. It would be the thrill of a lifetime for any young boy, but Friday's visit by Anaheim firefighters holds special meaning for 8-year-old Cyrus Bonczkowski. Back in May, Cyrus was playing with a cigarette lighter when his shirt caught fire and he was critically burned.

"He had third-degree burns -- front, back, arms, everything. He's alive. He almost died a few times," said Patty Newton, Cyrus's grandmother.

Newton says the recovery process has been grueling for her grandson, with multiple surgeries and hours of physical therapy.

What makes it even more difficult, the family, who had no working vehicle, has been using public transportation to take Cyrus to his many appointments at UC Irvine Regional Burn Center.

"It takes him a very long time to get over there with all the transfers and he's embarrassed a little bit with his burns and so on," said Anaheim City Fire Captain Kevin Symmes.

So Symmes and his firefighters got a hold of the family's broken-down 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass and got to work.

"We were able to work on it at the fire station in our downtime, and then also we took it over to Mitchell Tires, got new tires put on it, got some of the other work done," said Symmes.

Now with the old car up and running, Cyrus's long road to recovery will be a little bit easier.

"I'm just really happy that they're doing this for us. Now I can get him where he has to be," said Newton.

"I never knew that there was that many people that actually cared," said Jamie Newton, Cyrus's mother.

"As you can see, it's not a pretty car but they're very happy and it runs really well right now," said Symmes. "We're hoping that it makes a brighter Christmas for at least this one boy, Cyrus."

And from the way it looks ... mission accomplished.


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