Jan. 03--Six-year-old Colin Howard's clothes caught fire on Christmas Eve, and his injuries could've been worse had he not remembered to "stop, drop and roll" after the incident, his grandfather, Earl Howard, said.
Colin Howard was attempting to ride his bicycle in the family garage on Graham Lane and got too close to a "torpedo" heater.
"His jacket, blue jeans and shirt caught fire when he backed up to close to it," Earl Howard said. "He yelled for his father, who was out on the back deck, and ran out of the garage and stopped, dropped and rolled and put the fire out.
"How many adults would remember to do that?"
Fortunately for the youngster, "stop, drop and roll" was fresh in his mind. His teacher at Owensboro Catholic Elementary K-3 Campus reviewed lessons from the first semester on Dec. 19, which included what a person should do if they catch fire.
"When I picked him up from school that Thursday, he told me, 'Granddaddy, do you know what you're supposed to do if your clothes catch on fire? Stop, drop and roll. Always remember that,' " Earl Howard said.
After the incident, Jim Howard, the boy's father, took the burned clothing off his son and drove him to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital's Emergency Department. He was transported by ambulance to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville later that day and has been there since.
Colin Howard was burned on his backside with several third-degree burns. Earl Howard said it has not yet been determined whether the youngster will need a skin graft.
"It was amazing how quickly that fire burned him," Earl Howard said. "The lower part of his back was the most severe.
"On the ambulance ride to Louisville, the EMT told him that he did the right thing. Had the boy come out of the garage and run to get help, he might not have made it."
Colin Howard was sedated on the trip to Louisville but told his family that it was "fun riding in an ambulance."
"And Santa Claus came to see him in the hospital," Earl Howard said. "He brought him a remote-control Jeep.
"Colin's been a soldier through it all."
Rich Suwanski, 691-7315, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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