As Santa Barbara gears up for a holiday season fraught with economic woes and the aftermath of the Tea Fire, there’s one bright spot, at least for two families who have been hit the hardest. Lance and Carla Hoffman, who had been married for just over a year before being terribly injured as the Tea Fire swept over their East Mountain Drive home on November 13, are beginning their recovery - and, according to a report from Linda Hoffman, Lance’s mother, have just seen one another for the first time since being transported to the UC Irvine Medical Center a month ago.
Mrs. Hoffman said that on December 10, “The nurses were able to wheel Carla outside of [Lance’s] room so they could see each other, wave their heavily wrapped arms, and exchange ‘I love you’s’.” They’re both breathing on their own without the assistance of a respirator, and will be done with their skin-grafting surgeries, Mrs. Hoffman said, by the end of next week.
Community support has been strong for the couple, both of whom were employed in downtown Santa Barbara before the fire. Paseo Nuevo Mall, where Lance worked as a security guard, has been raising funds for their relief, and Metro Entertainment, Carla’s employer, has been active as well. Friends and family have held a variety of successful fundraisers and benefits.
The Hoffmans’ families, which include Blanca Flor Benedict, David and Linda Hoffman, Jason McComb, Kristin Hoffman, James and Alice Mills, and Gerri Hoffman, all extend their thanks to the community at large for their continued support, and remain hopeful that Lance and Carla will continue to steadily recover.