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FIRE ACCIDENT TURNS INTO 'NIGHTMARE1 FOR GREYBULL MAN

Basin Republican Rustler of Basin, Wyoming

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"It was a freaking nightmare" was the first thing Brian DeRosa of Greybull said about the incident on Jan. 6 in which he received second and third degree burns over 10 percent of his body.

DeRosa was working in a shop owned by his Aunt Marena Chapman located on South Third Street in Basin. This is where he makes custom tents for his business, Wyoming Lost and Found.

He said it was cold in the shop and he wanted to get the slow burning wood stove to burn hotter. "I poured a cup or two of gas from a canister onto the smoldering fire. The flames shot up from the fire to the canister, which then exploded. It sprayed burning gas everywhere."

Despite his clothes being on fire, the first thing DeRosa did was take a fire extinguisher to put out the fire and sparks in the shop. He then took a blanket and smothered the flames on his legs. "Everything lasted about a minute." After putting out the fire he went outside and rolled in the snow to cool the burning on his body. He called his mother, Carolyn Olin, who works at South Big Horn County Hospital.

As he was trying to cool off in the snow, two Town of Basin trucks pulled up. They asked if he needed help. DeRosa asked them to go inside the shop to make sure that everything was out. It was then they asked about calling an ambulance. He said no. "I didn't think I was that badly burned." Just then his mom pulled up and told him to get into her car she was taking him to the emergency room.

DeRosa said when he got to the ER they were very busy with other patients. The hospital staff was able to move those people out and get him in the main ER room. His shoes were melted. "Thank goodness I was wearing cotton or I would have been burned a lot worse. I am thankful my alcohol monitoring anklet wasn't melted too."

He gave high praise to physician assistants Heather Sanders and Angela Redder at SBHC hospital. "They told me I needed to be life-flighted to a hospital with a burn unit. I told them no I don't have insurance." (Ten percent of DeRosa's body had burns. His legs suffered third degree burns. His face second degree burns). "I was being a jerk to them."

"They asked me who my doctor was. I told them Dr. Fitzsimmons. They said to call him. When I did he told me to get on the plane now." DeRosa said that he is glad he did.

He had high praise for the staff of EagleMed, the air medical evacuation crew. "The crew was very good. They joked and made me very comfortable." The flight took about an hour to get to Greely, Colo. An ambulance was waiting at the airport to take him to the burn unit at the Northern Colorado Medical Center.

He said once he was at the hospital they took him immediately into a shower room where they wet him down and started working on the burns. This included draining the blisters and peeling off the dead skin. "This hospital has my full recommendation. I've been in a lot of hospitals, too. I can't say enough good things. They deserve recognition."

DeRosa is hoping to be home by the end of this week. He said his doctors there have already been in contact with Dr. Fitzsimmons about his aftercare. "Doctors Garcia and Wagner both have awesome bedside manners and have taught me a lot about burn care."

On Monday he had skin graft operations on his legs. It will take a while for his beard and eyelashes to grow back but he thanks the Lord that his face wasn't burnt worse.

When asked what the incident taught him, DeRosa said to never use gasoline on fires, you can never have too many fire extinguishers and that when you are near a fire you should also have something nearby to smother the flames.

He credits God and guardian angels for saving him and the medical staffs at both hospitals, EagleMed and his fiancee Laurie Garland for helping him recover.



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Original Publication Date: January 15, 2015



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