Bluffton, SC (WSAV) – It’s been a week since a flash fire at a Bluffton restaurant left a cook there severely burned. Colin Christensen, who has worked at Fat Patties about a year, is now at his Port Royal home recovering from his injuries.
His face sends a message of pain, but inside 19-year-old Colin is rejoicing.
“There’s obviously some good that came out of this–I’m still here and that’s pretty amazing,” Christensen said Wednesday from his home.
He said he remembers the horrifying incident clearly.
Around 1:30 in the kitchen of Bluffton’s Fat Patties restaurant Wednesday he grabbed a ticket off the printer.
“I turned around and it was a wall of fire,” he said. “Everything was real bright for a second and I closed my eyes and breathed out and when I opened my eyes again it was hot like I was on fire and I just ran away stop drop and roll got myself in an ice bin.”
The next three minutes – as paramedics made their way- were the worst he’s had yet.
“Horrible,” he said. “Every part of your body whether it’s burned or not is stinging like it’s trying to fix what just happened. It’s horrifying, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
The Bluffton Township Fire District has ruled the cause of the fire, “human error due to lack of maintenance.”
Christensen calls it a ‘freak accident.’
“It was going to happen to whoever was on grill it just happened to be me,” he said.
After a few days at the burn center in Augusta, Colin came home to Port Royal with no timeline of recovery.
“I’m hopeful that I can just get better really quick and go back to work and do all the normal things that I’m used to doing but only time will tell,” he said.
The pain is almost all over his body. He has burns on his legs, chest, neck, arms, hands and face. He has the use of the end of one finger on his left hand which allows him to communicate some on his phone.
But the healing isn’t just physical. It also comes in the support from his work family
and the belief that he’s here for a purpose.
“As soon as I got [to the hospital] the lady asked if I could touch her hand because there had to be some sort of good luck on my side or something because it was crazy I was even still alive and I believed her.”
Colin heads back to Augusta Friday to see his doctor.
Thankfully workers compensation is covering his hospital bills and some living expenses but not all.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to provide relief for the rest. To help visit: https://www.gofundme.com/collin-christensen-burn-fund