Hero doctor dodges wildfire on motorcycle to help rescue babies

A California doctor is being hailed as a hero for using his motorcycle in a risky journey to the hospital, to help evacuate babies as a wildfire closed in.

Fires have engulfed much of northern California in recent days, torching thousands of acres, killing dozens and wreaking all manner of destruction. That included the burning of much of Santa Rosa in the Tubbs Fire.  That’s where Dr. Scott Witt comes in.

As the fire approached Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital earlier this week, SFGate.com reports Witt was called in to help evacuate the neonatal intensive care unit, where eight newborns were threatened by the blaze. Witt quickly realized he couldn’t reach the hospital by truck, as the highway was a mess due to the fire disrupting traffic.

So, Witt headed home, to find police advising his neighbourhood to evacuate. Telling his family to comply, Witt jumped on to his BMW R NineT and rode that to the hospital. Evacuating the neonatal unit took three hours, and Witt’s dangerous adventure wasn’t over then. The babies were evacuated to another nearby hospital, and Witt realized the only way he could accompany them was if he followed the ambulance through the fiery landscape on his motorcycle. He told SFGate.com that “I figured it would be OK if I followed the ambulance and got some draft,” and that, in some places, he was only able to see through the smoke because of the ambulance’s lights.

Witt did manage to get to the hospital safely with his charges, then rejoin his family at their evacuation point. The next day, they discovered their home had been destroyed; thankfully, they had insurance, and of course, at least his motorcycle survived …

You can find more details of Witt’s harrowing ride at SFGate.com.

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