I have debated sharing this story but it was such a scary event for me and the rest of the family that I felt that I needed to share it, mostly because it has been on my mind constantly since Saturday when it unfolded.
My family went camping. We normally go somewhere "real" but because of the flooding a lot of camping sites have been closed. After failed attempts my Dad decided to book one of the last sites at Willard Bay. We all were kind of bummed but I was excited because of the fact that we would actually be able to play in the water. We arrived Friday. Saturday we had a wonderful morning and early afternoon, which consisted of playing in the water and having silly water fights with Jaden, my 4 year old nephew.
Josh and Varinia and baby Alexa arrived right after we returned from playing in the water. They weren't going to come up because Josh injured his ankle playing baseball a couple of days ago and he can't walk on it. We were really excited to see them arrive though.
Jaden decided that he wanted some ramen noodles so Dad started boiling some water outside on the propane stove. The propane ran out so he went inside the old camper to use the stove. I was pouring me a drink when I heard the loudest boom I have ever heard. It shook the ground and it sounded like a bomb went off. My Dad then let out a shrill torturous scream. I ran around the camper to see him coming out. He had thrown off his glasses and was acting as if he was on fire. I looked down to see his legs hair singed. I thought he was fine but it was pure panic. The camper had smoke coming from the roof. He ran in the camper and I ran in after him. There we found the curtains and cushions on fire. He was screaming. Kristi was screaming at us to get out. Josh was running around (on his injured ankle). Varinia and Mom were consoling the kids.
The neighbors arrived and the one man plugged in the hose and while we were dumping the noodled water on the curtains, Anthony was filling up a cooler with water. It was sheer panic and terror. It probably only lasted a good minute or two but it was so scary! The fire continued and at some point I realized that we both were choking on smoke. The neighbor, sensing the urgency sprayed the hose towards us, drenching us both but accomplished the task of filling up the pot and thus allowing us to take care of the fire. We get out of the camper and I hear people screaming. Mostly I remember hearing Josh repetitively saying to take Dad to the Hospital. Anthony threw me the keys, Kristi got in the backseat and Dad got in the front. I was shaking. I had a hard time gripping the steering wheel and that is when I realized that Dad was burned on the back of both of his legs.
As we drive to the hospital he is apologizing and telling us that their must have been a leak. He said there was a flash fire and he thought he was dead. It was terrifying to hear him in such a panicked tone and I couldn't bear to see him in so much pain. "It's going to be okay, It's going to be okay, It's going to be okay." This was Dads reassurance as I tried to drive safely there.
We arrived at the hospital. As he was rushed away we were then left to give a witness statement and to give insurance information. After Kristi visited him I was allowed to go in and I held his shoulder down. He was shaking profusely due to the pain as they applied antibiotic ointment, and bandages. The burns were luckily only 2nd degree. He was missing some skin on his left leg. It was really hard to watch.
While we were at the hospital the fire department arrived and made sure that everything was cleared from further fires. After about an hour and a half at the hospital we were then able to return to the campsite to check on everyone else. It was such an emotional moment to be together again. Jaden was so upset when grandpa arrived. He was so scared! We cleaned up the campsite and went home.
I have never been so scared. My Dad is the rock in our family. He is so kind and is so good to my Mom and the rest of us. He loves being a Grandpa and takes pride in everything they do.
The last two nights while laying in bed all I can continue to hear is his scream. Nobody else remembers hearing his scream. Apparently all they heard was me screaming. It will never leave my mind though. I thought he was dead. It brings so much anxiety to me as I am laying in bed, it has been really hard to shut that image and noise out. I tried some ambient noise but it didn't help.
I keep thinking how grateful we were to be at Willard. It was so close to a hospital and we had so many people close that were so helpful. The neighbors were there instantly and they helped so much. I am so grateful nobody was in the camper with him. Jaden had been following him all day. I know that he would have been in there if Josh and Varinia hadn't just arrived to keep him distracted. We are truly blessed.
I am thankful for my Heavenly Father for the blessings that we received this weekend. I love my family and I can't imagine life without any of them. Dad is doing well, he is in lots of pain but he tries to hide it so we don't worry. He doesn't want anyone to worry about him and mostly he is embarrassed. The last thing he would want is for anyone to make a big deal about it. He is an amazing person though and I love him so much. Please keep him in your prayers for a speedy recovery.