Skip to main content

Vancouver firefighter recovering abroad after losing leg to 'flesh-eating' infection

This photo from an online fundraising page shows Vancouver firefighter Christopher Won, who lost a leg to a flesh-eating infection while on vacation. (Image credit: GoFundMe) This photo from an online fundraising page shows Vancouver firefighter Christopher Won, who lost a leg to a flesh-eating infection while on vacation. (Image credit: GoFundMe)

An assistant fire chief with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services is recovering in a Hong Kong hospital after contracting an infection commonly known as flesh-eating disease, forcing the amputation of part of his leg during a family vacation.

Marie Hui says her partner Christopher Won is “lucky to be alive, and very grateful for another day” after the bout with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection that can start with a seemingly benign scrape, cut or even a bug bite.

In an email, she says the family can't recall Won having any such wounds or bites, but the infection forced the amputation of his leg above the knee on Feb. 15.

Hui says the family suspects the trouble began in Singapore, as Won started feeling symptoms on the way to the airport to fly back to Hong Kong.

She says the couple and their two children will face a challenging road to recovery, but they are “optimistic” with the support of their family and community.

She says her parents flew to Hong Kong from B.C. to help take care of the couple's two children while the family waits for Won to be cleared to fly home.

In a post on Instagram, Hui says Won “almost didn't make it out of that operating theatre alive” during the amputation, but he and the doctors “fought hard.”

Hui also shared a photo showing Won sitting up in a hospital bed with a bouquet of flowers sent by Vancouver city councillors and Mayor Ken Sim.

A statement from Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry says the department is grateful for the outpouring of support for Won, “one of the strongest, most resilient and committed people we know.”

Hui also shared a message from Won, saying the support has been “overwhelming” and he “can't wait to come home” to thank everyone in person.

A fundraising page set up by a friend of the family says Won's career with the city has spanned more than 20 years, while Hui is “beloved” as an anthem singer for teams including the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2024. Top Stories

Here's what to expect in the 2024 federal budget

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will be presenting the 2024 federal budget on Tuesday, revealing how the federal Liberal government intends to balance the nearly $40 billion in pre-announced new spending with her vow to remain fiscally prudent.

Prince Harry in legal setback about security protection in U.K.

Prince Harry's fight for police protection in the U.K. received another setback on Monday, when a judge rejected his request to appeal an earlier ruling upholding a government panel's decision to limit his access to publicly funded security after giving up his status as a working member of the royal family.

Israel's War Cabinet convenes to determine next steps after Iran attack

Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which had relied on proxies across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October. All eyes are now on whether Israel chooses to take further military action, while Washington seeks diplomatic measures instead to ease regional tensions.

A look inside the gutted 24 Sussex Drive

The National Capital Commission is providing a glimpse inside the gutted 24 Sussex Drive, more than a year after the heritage building along the Ottawa River was closed.

Stay Connected