CORONA ( — A firefighter battling the North Fire, a raging inferno that burned through Interstate 15 before moving to Baldy Mesa, is recovering after sustaining second-degree burns in the firefight over the weekend.

“It was immediate. From the second I went into the hole, I was like, ‘This isn’t going to be too good,’ ” said Capt. Roger Williams, describing the moment the ground beneath him crumbled, leaving his leg exposed to charred earth and fire.

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It happened as Williams, who works for the Corona Fire Department, was battling the North Fire on Saturday and trying to protect homes in the Baldy Mesa area.

“Went about our business, started to work on it, and the earth just kind of gave way beneath me, and my foot went in,” he said.

Williams was out of the hole in seconds, but the damage was done.

“I kind of pulled my pants up, my cuffs, both my pair of pants, and saw obviously that there was some pretty significant second-degree burns,” he said.

“When I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh, that looks disgusting,’ ” said Kim Williams, his wife.

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She said she got the call Saturday afternoon and was expecting the worst but was relieved when she heard the news.

“Of course, immediately, my heart started really pounding and I was thinking, ‘This is bad.’ But it was nice to hear right off the bat, ‘Roger got burned, but he’s OK. It’s his legs,’ ” she said.

The Williamses have eight children, and the family is rallying around its hero dad to help him get better.

“When I’m standing still and I have it up, it’s pretty good,” says Williams, who hopes to be back at work in a few months.

The city of Corona says someone has started a GoFundMe page in Williams’ name, but neither the captain nor the fire department are affiliated with that page.

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For those who feel the need to donate, the captain suggests the Fire and Burn Foundation. Click here to access the page.