Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dodge City man recovers from burns from oil fire at festival

July 28, 2011


— A Dodge City man who was severely burned at a festival last year has returned to work and credits his recovery in part to the support he received from the community.

Brent Harris was working at the Boot Hill Museum's Bull Fry and Bash last year when a flash fire seared his face as he dumped oil out of a turkey fryer, according to The Dodge City Globe. Harris spent 10 days in intensive care, followed by two months of recovery.

He also received 300 get-well cards, and people flooded the hospital's switchboard with calls from friends, family and well-wishers seeking information about his condition.

Today, it's difficult to see where the fire left its mark on Harris. He says several people helped him recover. But his faith and his supporters in Dodge City also played key roles in his recovery.

"Probably what I've learned most from this is the kindness of the fellow man," he said. "I had no idea people cared."

The accident occurred as Boot Hill staffers were preparing food in the 12 turkey fryers that Harris had built, and the oil in the cookers had expanded due to the heat. Harris needed to pour off a little of the oil to make cooking easier. He poured off the excess oil in the first eight cookers without a problem, but the oil in the ninth cooker caused a flash fire that seared Harris' face.

"It was basically like standing in front of a jet engine," he said.

Harris suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face, neck and arms. But he recovered faster than anyone expected, and he was back at Boot Hill, where he does maintenance work, within 60 days.

"A huge share of it to this community and the churches all over the state of Kansas — and the people of Dodge City," he said. "That's the big part of it."


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