Monday, October 24 , 2016, 10:46 pm | Fair 59º


Local News

Tea Fire Burn Victims Still Critical But Expected to Survive

Relatives say Santa Barbara couple Lance and Carla Hoffman remain unconscious and on life support.

The conditions of a Santa Barbara couple who were severely burned in the Tea Fire improved somewhat Monday. It appears they will survive, but they are still unconscious and on life support, a family member said Monday.

Carla and Lance Hoffman, severely burned in the Tea Fire, remain on life support at an Irvine hospital, but their conditions improved Monday.
Carla and Lance Hoffman, severely burned in the Tea Fire, remain on life support at an Irvine hospital, but their conditions improved Monday. (Jim Mills photo)
Lance Hoffman, a 29-year-old security guard at Paseo Nuevo, and his wife, Carla, a manager at Metro Entertainment on West Anapamu Street, suffered second- and third-degree burns all over their bodies when leaving their rented cottage on East Mountain Drive on Thursday evening. They are being treated at the UC Irvine Regional Burn Center.

Jim Mills, Lance’s grandfather, said their body temperatures — which rose dangerously as a result of their burns — went down Monday, and their swelling improved. Doctors on Monday also were able to put to rest two major concerns about Lance: that his eyes were burned, and that the fire had damaged his lungs.

“They are still in critical condition, but also stable — that’s the best we can do for now,” said Mills, a former firefighter for the city and county of Santa Barbara.

Mills said the family isn’t sure exactly what happened to the couple, because they have been unconscious under sedation since their rescue.

The incident occurred Thursday evening, shortly after the fast-moving fire broke out on East Mountain Drive above Montecito’s Cold Spring neighborhood.

The couple apparently were running to their car from their cottage when they were overtaken by a flash fire, Mills said.

Although badly burned, the couple were able to drive themselves to Santa Barbara Fire Station No. 7, at Stanwood Drive and Mission Ridge Road.

Coincidentally, that was the station where Mills took his first firefighting job, 58 years ago. On Monday, Mills contacted the station, and talked to a man who helped the couple that day.

“He said Lance was talking coherently, but was in pain,” Mills said.

From the station, they were transported by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and later were flown by helicopter to Irvine.

Twenty-two percent of Lance’s body was burned, and 9 percent of it was covered in third-degree burns, Mills said. About 30 percent of Carla’s body was burned, though she had fewer third-degree burns, he said. Mills, who went to see them in Irvine over the weekend, said Lance appeared worse off than Carla, largely because of the major burns on his head.

Mills said he’s seen a lot of people in car wrecks, fires and other accidents, but “I’ve never seen anybody looking as bad as my grandson.

“Don’t live in brush country, man.”

Those interested in helping can send a donation to:
The Lance and Carla Burn Fund
Santa Barbara Bank and Trust
1483 East Valley Road
Montecito, CA 93108-1248

Write to [email protected]

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

» on 11.19.08 @ 06:36 AM

I made a contribution to the burn fund in light of this article. Thank you guys for doing such a great job covering this tragedy. You done an incredible job covering all aspects of this situation and how people can help!

Thank you

» on 11.20.08 @ 10:05 PM

Does anyone know the status of these people’s cats? I know they had at least two.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >