Burned Miss. Firefighter Continues Recovery

BRANDON, Miss. --

Jackson firefighter David King covered his right arm with a towel as he spoke recently to 16 WAPT's Kathryn Kight. Underneath are third-degree burns that still bring him pain a month after flames covered him.

"I live it every day," King said.

King ran into a burning house on Whitten Road in Jackson on Nov. 6, to make sure no one was inside. Moments later, the natural gas inside the house exploded.

"We saw it coming and we were getting out, but I didn't make it," King said. "I tried to find my way out. When I was on fire, I asked God to take my life right there, real quick, because it hurt."

Even with his safety gear on, the flames left first, second and third-degree burns. King spent two weeks at a temporary burn center set up inside Crossgates Hospital in Brandon.

"They're full of merciful angels. They really are, and they really care," King said.

The state went four years without a burn center after the one in Greenville shut down. The closest was in Augusta, Ga. But in 2009, a burn center opened at Crossgates River Oaks. Dr. Bill Lineaweaver said the hospital expected about 250 patients the first year, but found out the need was even greater.

"The first 12-month period, we admitted a patient a day," Lineaweaver said.

Now, the burn center relies on beds available at the hospital. But that will change when it becomes a full-fledged burn center by February and upgrades to 15 beds.

But even the new facility won't be able to help every type of burn patient. People with burns on more than half of their bodies will have to travel out of state for treatment.

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