A Selbyville man who suffered first- and second- degree burns on 90 percent of his body after trying to reignite a backyard bonfire with an unidentified liquid died Sunday in Crozer Burn Center in Upland, Pa., according to State Fire Marshal officials.
Chief Deputy Fire Marshall Randy Lee said that the office is waiting for information from the Medical Examiner in Dover before releasing the victim’s name. His name was not released before the Coastal Point’s press time. It is still undetermined what kind of liquid the man tossed on the fire.
“We have had several burned this past year trying to ignite some sort of bonfire or just burning brush and they don’t think its burning fast enough and they throw something on it,” Lee said, “but none as serious as this.”
The State Police, Roxana Fire Department and the Sussex County Paramedics responded to the call on Saturday to the 30000 block of New Road and found the victim burned. He was flown to Crozer center Saturday, where he died the next day. Lee said that his death is the seventh fire-related fatality in the state this year. Last year, 13 people died across the state from fire-related causes.
A Roxana Fire Department official would not share any more information on the incident and others did not respond to a message left at the fire house.
This most recent incident might bring back memories for some nearby residents.
On Dec. 3, while standing with his friends, 15-year-old, then-Indian River High School freshman Matthew “Tucker” Smawley tossed gasoline on a barrel fire, attempting to reignite the flame.
The fire traced the gasoline and left third degree burns on his hands, arms, chest, neck and face. Starting on Dec. 4, Smawley spent two months at Crozer Burn Center, where he received 10 skin-graft surgeries. He is still recovering.