Continued from a previous post.
It’s been over five months since Max was severely burned over his face and upper body – it continues to amaze me to see him heal so quickly. Granted, the advent of youth, proper medical attention, application of skin care products, and continued support by family, friends, and the community, has accelerated the healing process. Max is enjoying school (as much as a 10 year old boy can), his weekly stint on the snowboard, playing video games, and is progressing nicely on the piano. Leading life as though nothing had happened seems to be going rather well.
There are however occasions when we are reminded of the incident – obviously we think of what happened almost everyday as the scaring is a constant reminder – but on occasions when we run into friends, some of whom who are more like acquaintances, we find ourselves retelling the story, which brings back memories, glimpses of that day as it happened. The most disconcerting is running into mutual friends of Eric and having to retell the story as it truly happened (Eric was my friend who caused the explosion – an adult in his 40s – I mention this because people have asked, and in my prior posts there is little description of him).
The incident was by all means avoidable and not entirely accidental. The explosion was caused by him squirting high octane fuel used for model airplanes onto previously lit charcoal briquettes. He had kept this fuel in a clear plastic squirt bottle (similar to one you’d find on a picnic table – you know the ones filled with ketchup or mustard). I recall seeing that bottle earlier that evening (it was about one third of the way full) and asking him what it was for – he mentioned he was going to use it to light the BBQ fire. I immediately offered to run out and buy lighter fluid, for the thought of lighting a BBQ with that pink fuel in a plastic bottle seemed, well, idiotic – maybe something you would do as a teenager, but not at a BBQ, not as an adult, and especially not with kids running around.
He assured me, he had done this before and it was no big deal – I think of that moment in time, constantly.
It’s apparent that when we retell our story to those friends, they are under the impression it was an accident that could not have been avoided, not so. He was squirting high octane fuel, not lighter fluid, directly over briquettes which he attempted to light previously with no success. Model plane fuel is designed to burn fast and hot in a closed cell, not to light outdoor fires. Unfortunately Max was standing by, under adult supervision. Boom.
Max’s scars look really good for what happened. I realize it’s been a while since posting about this incident, but taking some time off from dwelling on what happened has really helped us all. We’ve talked with a counselor, and Max is doing good. The interesting thing is how it’s affected his sister – she saw it all happen, and now seems to dislike any sort of fire, specifically candles at dinner time. During this whole incident, she’s the one factor we’ve overlooked.