UNITED STATES—Stockton native Samuel “Sam” Maxwell, 32, a survivor of the Ghost Ship Warehouse fire in Oakland is still recuperating from critical injuries at Saint Francis Hospital’s Bothin Burn Center.
Maxwell, an Oakland-based bookseller often referred to as “Peaches” by friends, was reportedly the last person to exit the warehouse after it caught fire. His father, Bill Maxwell, shared with KTVU Fox 2 that his son was familiar with the layout of the space, having been to parties at the warehouse in the past.
Maxwell inhaled profuse amounts of smoke which severely impacted his lungs and burned his hands and parts of his face. During the process of escaping, he sent a text to his parents which said, “I’m alive. I’m out.”
According to reports, his mother, Wendi Maxwell, did not understand the reason behind her son’s message. After looking on Twitter, she discovered a live recording of the burning warehouse.
He was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland. His mother told reporters that she spoke to him on the phone succinctly before being notified that her son’s throat was beginning to swell. Highland Hospital practitioners induced a coma and transported Maxwell to Saint Francis Hospital in San Francisco as his situation “became much more serious,” KTVU Fox 2 stated.
Maxwell’s stay at Saint Francis was originally scheduled for three days, but he is still receiving care 6 weeks after his arrival, 5 weeks which were spent in an induced coma where he was breathing through a ventilator. His parents reportedly commuted to the hospital from Stockton every day, and his friends have paid several visits during which they provided food and support for the family. His book selling job is being held by the employer, and The Red Cross and Saint Francis’ Burn Support Group have covered his rent and his parents’ parking fees during their hospital visits.
Bill and Wendi Maxwell have organized a fundraiser on You Caring, which has raised $6,150. An update on January 16, shared that Maxwell has regained consciousness, but is unable to speak or move, and that he is beginning emotional and physical rehabilitation which will include speech therapy.