Burn survivor shares his story of recovery to educate others
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A burn survivor spent years in recovery and is now sharing his incredible story with WBRC. And by sharing his story, his hope is to prevent what happened to him from happening to you or a loved one.
“That one little error, that one mistake, and your life can be thrown into chaos,” said Lee Lucas.
It was the early morning of October 16, 2005. Lucas was in his apartment asleep.
“A neighbor of mine was cooking something in grease on their stove,” he said. “He stepped away from his kitchen for a couple of minutes... and when he came back, the stovetop and everything was on fire.”
Lucas said his neighbor instinctively put water on the grease fire to extinguish it, and in seconds, that fire spread and fast.
“Within 15 minutes, the whole building was ablaze,” Lucas said.
Lucas said he doesn’t remember that night, only what he’s been told.
“And the firemen came in and found me and pulled me out,” Lucas said. “I was put in an ambulance and rushed to UAB Emergency.”
And that’s when his long, painful journey to recovery began.
“I had second, third and fourth degree burns over 35% of my body,” he said. “I had to learn to walk, to talk, to stand, to go to the bathroom, to bathe myself, to clothe myself, to eat.”
And if it hadn’t been for his family, his faith, and a UAB burn survivor support group, he might not have the positive mindset he does today.
“I’ve got to just say, ‘Hey, look. I’m going to accomplish whatever’s in front of me. If I don’t accomplish it, I will stand up,’” he said. “‘If I get tired, I will rest. But when I get back up, I’ll try it again until it’s done.’”
Lucas is now a part of the burn survivor support group to use his experience to encourage others.
UAB said in 2021, 21% of the burn injuries they treated were cooking related.
So, here are some key reminders to keep you and your loved ones safe: never leave the kitchen when you’re cooking, do not throw water or flour on a kitchen fire, try to cover or smother the fire but do not move it, and if the fire is out of control, get out and call 911.
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