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Hyland couple caught in Cold Springs Fire ‘doing well’ in recovery at Harborview

Jamie and Jacob Hyland holding hands as they recover from serious burns at Harborview Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Dawnmarie Baxter)

The parents of a 1-year-old boy who died as his family was trying to escape the Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County, Jamie and Jacob Hyland, remain in serious intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Toddler killed in Cold Springs Fire while family was fleeing

The Hylands are being cared for by burn specialists and have undergone lengthy surgeries, but the couple is improving, their family said Friday.

The Hyland family was trying to leave their remote property to get away from the Cold Springs Fire earlier this month. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office received a call to find them after they were last known to be in the area of Cameron Lake Road and Paxton Canyon Road. Deputies were told the family’s vehicle was found burned out with no one inside.

The couple and their 1-year-old, Uriel, were found on Sept. 9, 2020, along the banks of the Columbia River. Uriel was deceased when rescue crews reached the family. His parents, 31-year-old Jacob and 26-year-old Jamie, were flown to Harborview in critical condition with third-degree burns.

Jamie was pregnant at the time as well, according to a GoFundMe page started to help with medical costs and lost wages. Her sister, Dawnmarie Baxter, reported Friday through a video update from UW Medicine that the pregnancy did not make it.

The wife of Jacob’s cousin, Tammie Mabry, started the GoFundMe page for the Hylands. She previously said you could tell they were trying to make it to the river, passing through barbed wire fences and sagebrush.

“It’s a miracle, after seeing the truck and the condition of the area, that they even made it to the river,” Mabry said.

On Sunday, Mabry added an update to the GoFundMe page, saying that Jamie had a 12-hour surgery on Friday on her arms, elbows, and hands. She’s also been fighting an infection, which doctors found the source of and extended the surgery to tend to it. Jacob also had surgery on Friday.

The couple is in burn care, which involves surgeries, recovery, medication, and medication side-effects and adjustments, as well as physical therapists and voice and respiratory therapists.

“Nothing about any of this is pleasant,” Mabry said.

And on top of all of this, she says, there’s the emotional pain and grief as well, adding that “it is right there with them, day in and day out.”

Baxter says Jacob and Jamie have been “meeting and exceeding” the expectations for recovery every day.

“They both have extensive burns and surgeries to recover [from], but each time they are meeting and just miraculously recovering,” she said.

“The nurses, the doctors, everybody, the staff at Harborview has been beyond incredible to them, so they’re doing well,” Baxter added.

She also shared a story from her sister, who wanted to make sure that the men who helped find them were thanked.

“I believe it’s just a couple, it might be more, men from the Indian Reservation Tribe next to their property — they got the news through social media that they were missing, went out on their boats again after, my understanding is, a 12-hour day at work,” Baxter recounted. “They came home to their wives, wives told them the story, they rushed back out.”

“Every time [Jamie] tells me the story, and it’s been at least 5-6 times, she said please tell them, please tell the world they took off their jackets with their body warmth on it and put it right on us and held us in their warmth,” Baxter added. “And she said please tell them thank you, please tell the world that they did this for us.”

Baxter also says the family has been getting a lot of questions about her nephew, Uriel.

“We haven’t even had time to process that because we’re still putting everything into our efforts to support Jaime and Jacob,” she said. “Right now, it’s very hard, so if everybody could be respectful of their privacy and just know that they’re at peace, as much as they can be. And they’ll share, if they want to, when the time is right.”

Baxter says the Hylands’ love story is “legendary.”

“They’re like a little old couple in there, they look like they’ve been together 30-60 years, not three,” she said. “And … their love shines throughout everything, their faith is so strong. And that’s what’s holding them together.”

“Even if they’re just next to each other, barely touching or overlapping, they always want to be holding hands as much as they can,” Baxter said. “So we are releasing that picture of their hands to help give people hope and faith that they’re not only fighting, but they’re at peace and they’re going to overcome this.”

The Cold Springs Fire started on Sunday, Sept. 6, and covers 189,923 acres, according to InciWeb, an interagency all-risk incident information management system. InciWeb reported in the final update for the Cold Springs Fire on Friday that “approximately 78 primary residences and 60 secondary buildings were lost or damaged during the initial attack operation.”

Repair work is now underway to mitigate damage, but most of the resources fighting this fire have been released home or to another incident. Crews are nearing full containment of the fire, and all evacuation levels have been lifted.

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