After months of not being able to talk, Martine Bellocq has a lot to say.
The horse trainer nearly lost her life while trying to save her horse Billy during the Lilac Fire. She's now recovering at a rehab facility in North County.
Bellocq, who has severe burns on more than half of her body, has undergone several surgeries and still faces a long road to recovery – but self-pity isn’t in her vocabulary.
“I am doing great,” she told NBC 7 from her room. Bellocq still has flashbacks to that day when she lost her favorite horse, Wild Bill Hickory.
The Lilac Fire started on Dec. 7 near State Route 76 and Interstate 15 in Bonsall but rapidly exploded into 500 acres within the first 20 minutes.
The fire marched across the North County, destroying 157 homes and damaging 64 others.
Bellocq was at San Luis Rey Downs when the wind pushed uncontrollable flames against the stable.
Her horse refused to come out of the stable. She was trying to save him when the flames got to her.
"I saved three of them, but he didn't want to come out, and the fire was so hot, you know, it started to burn me all over the place,” she said.
Bellocq lost her leg and will need a prosthetic, but she hasn’t lost her zest for life or her will to literally get back on the horse.
“I don’t say I’m going to gallop the horse again, but at least be close to them,” she laughed.
“I’m strong-willed and I can heal myself without asking people,” she said. “I don't want to do two steps at a time. I know my will to go forward.”
Her willpower is something her husband of more than 40 years admires.
“Her strength is something that she has always shown and drawn back to,” Pierre Bellocq told NBC 7.
Martine said her husband saved her life that day. He found her and moved her to safety.
Now she is motivated not only to heal her own body but to help others heal their wounds as well.
Through her strength, she hopes to “help some people who have gone through a fire like me, who lost a leg like me at least to give them help and comfort.”
Earlier this month Bellocq was honored with the Spirit of Courage award from the San Diego Burn Institute.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help with Bellocq’s medical bills.