Assistant Battalion Chief David Cushwa told ABC 57 Vito Palumbo is stable, and has improved since he was hit by a car Thursday near Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
The accident put Palumbo in critical condition.
Firefighters said they rushed to the hospital when they found out what happened to their friend.
“Everybody absolutely comes together. We drop everything else that we are doing, because we know that could very well easily be us sitting there. And having a simple accident like that affect us,” Cushwa said.
He said Palumbo is like a brother to everyone at the fire department.
“Everything that we would normally do in a family, we do here. So it’s eat together, sleep together, play together, your off-time. As well as some of the hard times of some of the calls, you go through all of those events together. “
Cushwa said Palumbo is known for his humor, dedication, athleticism and ambition.
“The first thing I can say is I’m sorry you don’t know him. Because he is a definitely a character,” Cushwa said.
He said everyone misses his smiling face at the department, and they hope he has a speedy recovery.
“Taking him out of the picture of coming to work every day. And continuing to help people, which he wants to continue to do. It’s just one of those things of the guys making sense of it. Definitely a lot of shock there.”
But he said he thinks what he told Palumbo the night of the accident will come true.
“Vito, you’re above this. You’re stronger than this. Um, you’re going to beat this. You’re going to get better. Of everything, you’re going to put your mind to it, and there’s nothing you can’t do,” Cushwa said.
The firefighters are donating money to go towards Palumbo’s family.
Cushwa said they are asking the public to hold off on making donations until the Union sets up an official fund under his name. He said he wants to make sure any money raised goes to the right people.
Palumbo has been with the Elkhart City Fire Department for 26 years.