OLYMPIA, Wash. — Daniel Lyon did not expect his career as a wildland firefighter to take him to the state’s Supreme Court.
“I never thought in a million years I’d be where I am, burned up as I am, losing my brothers,” said Lyon.
Lyon was the sole survivor of a deadly fire truck crash in 2015 in the Twisp area in Okanogan County. He and other crews were fighting the massive Twisp River Fire when flames overwhelmed their fire truck and they drove off the road.
Lyon he suffered burns over 70 percent of his body. Three fellow firefighters died: Richard Wheeler, Andrew Zajac, and Tom Zbyszewski
He said he is trying to change a court doctrine that prevents first responders, like firefighters and police officers, from being able to sue for injuries suffered at work in cases of negligence.
Investigators determined the 2015 fire was the result of trees growing too close to Okanagan County Electrical Cooperative power lines.
The Washington Supreme Court dismissed the case on Tuesday after Lyon and his attorneys reached a $5 million settlement with Okanagan County Electrical Cooperative, but Supreme Court justices still required the parties to appear in the courtroom.
Lyon’s attorney, James McCormick, said another lawsuit challenging the doctrine is expected to be argued before justices this year.
He said Lyon’s lawsuit and story could end up being added to that case.
Lyon said if he helped change the doctrine, he’d think of it as a tribute to his fellow firefighters.
“That to me is the greatest feeling in the world,” said Lyon, “Knowing that I would make them proud.”