When retired Navy Seal medic Fred accidentally caught himself on fire, he thought he’s going to die.
“Finished working out and had a big woodpile that needed to get uh burnt down. I used some accelerant, which was gasoline, which was a huge mistake. When I lit it, a gust of wind came up at that opportune time, and I mean it happened instantaneously. The whole flame just engulfed my whole body,” he said.
Fred’s instinct told him to drop and roll, so his clothes didn’t burn, but he knows his body is burned. “And I saw my skin hanging from both my arms and my legs. The only thing that was on my mind at that moment was ‘I gotta get to the hospital.'”
He ran to his house and called Julie, his wife, who was 10 minutes away because she’s at their farm. Julie said, “When I got up to the house, I was looking around. I was ready to drive out to the field where the big fire was burning. And then he walked out of the house. I was like, ‘Whoa, okay. He’s burnt.'” The medics wrapped the burns before bringing Fred to the nearest hospital in Petersburg, VA.
Julie stated, “The pain was so excruciating it was focused on getting to the hospital safely and getting into the emergency room for the docs to start working.”
The hospital wasn’t equipped to medicate severe burns, so Fred was airlifted to Richmond’s Virginia Commonwealth University Burn Center. Julie prayed after watching Fred being relocated inside the helicopter, “I was mainly just praying that he’d be okay.”
Fred was conscious when he’s taken inside the ICU. 22% of Fred’s body has 2nd and 3rd-degree burns. He said, “Accessing the extent of my burns and, more IV lines in, and getting a camera down my throat to make sure I had no uh inhalation injury. It was a shock to see how much – how extensive the burns were.”
The main concern of the doctors was blood loss circulation at the burnt body parts, especially in Fred’s right arm, because it can lead to kidney failure and can kill Fred. Julie kept on praying, “I was just afraid he was going to die. I knew God was there, but uh, I was praying the whole time that he’d be okay.”
Fascinatingly, the airway and lungs of Fred were unharmed. His circulation improved dramatically in just two days inside the ICU. Julie said, “The first few days, the wounds looked good, and it was looking so good that uh they were telling me that he would probably be going home in like the end of the week.”
However, Fred won’t return home immediately because the burned tissue on Fred’s legs and arms became infected, and the underlying skin needed continuous scrubbing. Julie stated, “Didn’t matter how much they scrubbed they couldn’t scrub hard enough, they couldn’t get deep enough. It just kept getting worse and worse and worse.” The doctors cut out the burnt tissue eventually.
Julie was delighted that her friends joined her in prayer. She expressed, “They came up and prayed with him before going into surgery as well. The support, it’s tough to put into words. So awesome and so uplifting.
Doctors operated Fred twice to remove the infected areas thoroughly before beginning the painful skin grafting procedure. Fred was just happy being alive.
Fortunately, the body of Fred healed faster than the expected date. In less than two weeks after Fred’s last skin graft, he’ll be going home. He said, “They said it could be, you know, two to three months in the hospital. And we found out that that following week uh that they were going to discharge me.”
Fred is now back at work after a grueling month of having physical therapy. He said, “It was tough for me to accept that I almost died until I actually uh realized how close I was. I could have died right in my backyard. And Julie wouldn’t have known, probably for hours. That’s the whole reason for this right here, is to let everybody know that God answers prayers and he wants to heal.
“Prayer can be so powerful because it can give you such peace, you know when you need it. Strength when you need it, to help you through situations when you need it. John 14, ‘Whatever you ask in my name, that I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.'”
The wounds of Fred remind him of the faithfulness of the Lord and how their prayers have kept him alive.