Murrieta Fire Chief Matt Shobert was released from the hospital July 4, after being hit in the face by a rock during a brush clearing operation. Shobert was discharged Friday night from Loma Linda University Medical Center where he underwent a four to six-hour operation on Wednesday.
Fire officials called the incident a “freak accident” involving a large mowing machine at the Bear Creek gate community in Murrieta.
“He has a long road ahead,” Murrieta Fire Capt. Matt Corelli said of Shobert. Shobert was reported to be alert, lucid and recovering at home.
“He’s made a quick turn-around,” Corelli said.
The veteran firefighter was appointed Murrieta fire chief in 2011. He will be placed on indefinite administrative leave. A battalion chief is expected take the helm at the fire department during the interim, Corelli said. Shobert was not available for comment today.
Shobert was standing about 100 feet away from a machine clearing brush operated by a maintenance person on a slope. The fire chief and the other Murrieta firefighters were on hand to oversee the job in clearing out the dried brush, Corelli said. The machine apparently struck a rock, which was flung into Shubert’s face. At first, Shobert thought he had been wounded by gunfire, which prompted him to get in his vehicle and drive about 50 feet away from the site. Shobert pulled over to make a distress call, Corelli said.
Paramedics took the injured fire chief to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar and he was later flown out to Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, where he was initially listed in critical condition upon his arrival, a hospital representative said. Corelli could not recall another time when something like this ever happened during his time with the Murrieta Fire Department.