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Cache man burned in accidental fire

(Source Cache Volunteer Fire Department) (Source Cache Volunteer Fire Department)

CACHE, OK (KSWO) - A Cache man is in the hospital recovering from severe burns he suffered in an accidental fire at his home. 

Jeremy Welborn was flown to an Oklahoma City hospital after his lawnmower exploded in flames on Saturday afternoon, igniting his house. Welborn said he had stopped his mower near the house to refill the gas tank when the gasoline overflowed onto the exhaust pipe and ignited.  It quickly spread to a car, and then the house and burned for several hours, destroying much of the home's attic and the garage. While it never took over the outside of the house and the structure is still standing, the fire caused an estimated $200 thousand worth of property and structural damage.

Welborn has burns all over his lower-body but actually tried to stop the fire despite having those burns while waiting for firefighters. Once things calmed down, paramedics realized how bad his injuries were and took him to Southwestern Medical Center before flying him to the burn center in Oklahoma City. He was expected to be released Monday night but has to return on Friday to figure out if he will need a skin graft or not.

 "When I got to the hospital, they determined that I had 8 to 9 percent of my body, I believe what they called a circumferential burn which means it's completely, all the way around your foot,” Welborn said. “The concern there is a burn like that could cause circulation to stop in your toes."

Welborn said he didn't immediately feel the intense pain that came from the burns, allowing him to walk on his badly burned legs to alert his family, start trying to fight the fire and ultimately drive several classic cars out of his garage as firefighters took over. Despite the injuries, Welborn said he is simply happy to be alive.

"I didn't lose my life, the things could have been far worse in regards to my body and the burns I did receive. It could have been worse in regards to the loss of the entire house,” Welborn said. “But my family was OK, they were able to get our animals out of the house, our pets out of the house. All of our lives were spared."

17 firefighters from Cache, Indiahoma and Geronimo responded to the fire and battled it for nearly three hours.

"It was such a very large structure, so many areas for that fire to go and with the fire moving as fast as it did with the fuels it had in the garage area, we really thought we had a battle on our hands. And we did, I didn't know if we were going to be able to save this thing or not,” Cache Fire Chief Dale Winham said.

Chief Winham said the fire caused more than $200 thousand worth of damage, but they were able to contain it before it destroyed irreplaceable items.

"We all have keepsakes and stuff in our home, photo albums and stuff like that and we saved all of that,” Winham said. “That's very important to us, we want to get in there, we want to put that fire put out but were there really as public servants for the family. We're trying to do the best of good, minimize any damage that we can do, get that fire put out and help save their very precious valuables that they're going to have in their home."

Welborn said he is extremely grateful for the help of all of the firefighters for the efforts they made to keep his home standing.

"I've seen situations like this where houses weren’t able to be saved and by the time it was all said and done the house wasn't even standing anymore,” Welborn said. “So I appreciate them and the work they did to do their very best to try and save the house."

Welborn said he had filled his gas tank up, while the mower was off, several times without any incident. He said he will definitely wait for the mower to cool down in the future and hopes people can learn to do the same because of this incident.

A go-fund-me has been started here to help the Welborn family offset the cost of the deductibles on their health, home and auto insurance. 

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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