David Howard, chief of the Zephyr Volunteer Fire Department, sustained second degree burns to his face and hands while fighting a large grass fire Sunday near Zephyr.

Howard was being treated Monday at Brownwood Regional Medical Center, but doctors planned to fly him to a burn center because of their concerns about the possibility of infection, Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston said.

Preston also said a fund has been established at the Mid-Tex Federal Credit Union to assist Howard, his wife and two children with medical, travel and Christmas expenses. The fund is called the David Howard Benefit, Preston said.

The fire was about 4 miles south of Zephyr.

Howard was driving a brush truck at the head of the fire when the truck’s engine and pump quit at the same time, and the wind blew the fire back on him, Preston said.

He said the engine and pump probably failed because the oxygen had probably been sucked out of the air.

Preston said he visited Howard in the hospital Monday morning. “He’s in good spirits. He’s not in a lot of pain. They’ve got him sedated pretty good,” Preston said.

One other firefighter was on the truck Howard was driving, and he was not injured, Preston said.

Firefighters from the Zephyr, Mullin, Early and Goldthwaite departments battled the blaze and gained control of the fire around 5:40 p.m.