NAPA, Calif. (USA TODAY) — A teen who suffered severe pelvic fractures when the bricks on his family's fireplace collapsed on him during Sunday morning's earthquake is recovering from his injuries.
Nicholas Dillon, 13, was having a sleepover with his friend in the living room of his home when the earthquake hit. He was asleep on the floor near the fireplace when he felt a jolt. As he tried to escape the falling bricks, he had the presence of mind to warn his friend at the same time.
"He was the one who woke first and he was trying to alert them," Carmen Rosales, Nicholas' aunt said. "As soon as he woke and jolted up, he was yelling his friend's name, trying to get his attention so they knew what was going on, alerting them."
His friend was not injured.
The falling bricks landed on Nicholas' lower back, leaving him with multiple pelvic fractures. Doctors said he is very lucky the bricks didn't land higher on his spine.
Nicholas was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center and then airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center where he underwent a 10-hour surgery.
Rosales said Nicholas is recovering in good spirits.
Even before surgery, Rosales said Nicholas, a soccer player with a 4.0 GPA, had other things on his mind.
"One of the questions as the surgeon was going over information for the surgery, preparing us and him. He asked if there were questions and Nicholas asked, 'Yes, when can I get a slip, a form to tell the school I'm not going to be coming in?' He said 'We'll make sure we get that,' " Rosales said. "And as he [Nicholas] was going in, he said "Can you make sure you get that note for my school so they will know I won't be in?"
According to Rosales, the fireplace at Nicholas' home had been reinforced after the last Napa quake several years ago.