California doctor hops on motorcycle to help evacuate babies during wildfires

The colleagues of a California doctor have been calling him James Dean after he hopped on his motorcycle to help evacuate eight premature babies from a NICU as wildfires threatened the hospital. Dr. Scott Witt, who is the director of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital’s neonatal ICU, initially set out in his truck on Oct. 8, but had to turn back when the flames spread to the highway and traffic began backing up, KTVU reported.

“I got a call at 2 a.m. basically saying that there was some fire encroaching on the hospital so we might have to evacuate,” Witt, whose own family evacuated their Fountaingrove home, told KTVU. “I left in my truck but couldn’t get very far because the freeway at that time had flames going across it.”


Witt swapped out his truck for his motorcycle, and for four miles rode through the shoulder on gravel while dodging debris and strong winds, the news outlet reported. He arrived in time to help medical teams prepare the babies for a transfer to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, and followed the ambulances carrying his patients for the six mile journey.

“There were downed power lines that were live that we rolled over,” Witt told KTVU.

Witt’s home was destroyed in the fire, but his wife said she is grateful he was able to provide care to the babies.

“If my baby was in the hospital, I mean, I’m a little biased, but I would totally want them to be in some hands like Scott’s,” Megan Witt told KTVU.