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Archive for Sunday, May 2, 1999

BUSINESS OWNER RECOVERS FROM BURNS

May 2, 1999

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Five weeks after Joe Webster vaulted a burning chair to escape a fire, he's set to return to familiar surroundings at the Tire Co.

Hospital officials at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, Mo., dismissed Webster from outpatient care on Friday. Webster, the owner of the tire shop at 313 E. Eighth, will return to his business on a part-time basis this week, said his daughter, Pamela Stouffer.

Stouffer ran the business while her father was away for treatment.

Webster was visiting a friend near Neosho, Mo., on March 26, when an electrical outlet malfunctioned and sparked the fire, Stouffer said. Webster and his friend moved a wicker chair that was on fire, and Webster was forced to jump over it to get out of the room.

Even after he was injured, Webster was able to extinguish the fire, his daughter said.

Doctors said the burns won't fully heal for another 1 1/2 years, she said, but skin grafts weren't needed.

Webster has been staying with acquaintances in Carl Junction, Mo., and returning to the hospital in Springfield twice a week for treatment.

"He just wants his customers to know he'll be back in the office, part time," Stouffer said.

" ... He wanted to tell them thanks for hanging in there, and thanks for the cards."

Webster, 57, plans to be at work Monday.

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