FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Doctors say a Central California firefighter badly burned when he fell through the roof of an enflamed home faces a long recovery.

Dr. William Dominic told the Fresno Bee on Monday that firefighter Pete Dern will have to undergo many surgeries to remove dead tissue and apply skin grafts. Dominic says the risk of infection makes the burns life-threatening.

The 25-year veteran of the Fresno Fire Department was burned Sunday when he fell through the roof of a garage and lay inside up to three minutes until fellow firefighters pulled him to safety. He suffered second- and third-degree burns over 65 percent of his body, and a ventilator is helping him breath.

Dominic says that 49-year-old wouldn’t have survived long enough to be rescued without the firefighter’s protective clothing.