TAMPA, Fla. - It was news so heartbreaking, even the fire chief struggled with the words.
"It is unfortunately, with a heavy heart, that I report this morning that baby Clara has passed away from her injuries as of Sunday afternoon," Chief Scott Cassin said.
The daughter of one of their own, Firefighter Hunter Garcia, died from her injuries after a car ran a stop sign Friday afternoon and T-boned the family's gold SUV along Van Dyke Road.
Garcia and his wife, Kayla, were sent to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries. But their 5-month-old's injuries were critical.
"She was surrounded by her loving family, and supported by the thousands that have come to know her over the past few days," Cassin continued.
The crash left Kayla with a broken pelvis and fractures along her spinal cord. Hunter suffered a broken eye socket and was left with a lot of bruising. He's been released from the hospital, but remains at his wife's hospital bed.
The 23-year-old Hunter has been fighting fires with the force for less than two years, but Chief Cassin says he won't be facing this battle alone.
Not even one day after the accident, Hunter's colleagues stepped in to cover his shifts.
"Our guys and gals have already volunteered – volunteered; they're not asking for payback – they're working his shifts all the way through Thanksgiving and into December," he said. "They've got him covered if he needs to be covered."
Other departments throughout the Tampa area have offered their assistance as well.
"Not just Pasco, but the fire service in general, we are all one big family," the chief added. "And an event like this, where one of our firefighters is involved, we all come together. It doesn't matter what uniform you wear, or what your badge says. We're all one big group."
The family will be holding a public service for their daughter. Details are forthcoming.