Three men badly burned in truck explosion; two in critical condition
POLK COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
Three men were severely burned after the truck in which they were riding caught fire and exploded.
They'd gone to a Polk County junk yard to drop off scrap metal and as they sat in their truck on the weighing station, a fire erupted.
All three made it out of the burning truck alive but have a long way to go before they are back to health.
"Before they could even say you're truck's on fire it just engulfed in flames, it blew up," said family member Noel Buchanan.
The truck they were driving is now barely recognizable.
Two cousins and their uncle just barely got out in time. In fact, the two cousins had to go back into the burning truck to save their uncle, who was buckled inside.
"Most of their burns, my two cousins, came from saving my uncle's life," Buchanan said, "Well, we say saving his life, he's in critical condition along with one of my cousin's right now."
Two are in a medically-induced coma at the Grady Memorial burn trauma unit in Atlanta.
The third survivor, Jonathan Crowder, was just released Monday morning.
Crowder has burns covering his face and 15 percent of his body, but he's hurting most for his two family members still in critical condition.
"For me to be walking out, not either one of them, is mentally hard for me," Crowder said, "I love them both dearly. I love them."
Crowder's uncle, Larry Adams, was buckled in at the time of the explosion. 50 percent of his body is burned and doctors have him on life support.
"It'll be a miracle if Larry walks out of this hospital." Crowder said, "It'll be a godsend."
Crowder's cousin, Gary Patterson, has 25 percent of his body burned and is also on life support.
"He may never get to use his hands again because his hands were so bad," Crowder said, "They were completely almost burned off."
After the accident, friends and family are trying to raise money for their hospital bills. They created aGo Fund Me page, that posts daily updates on their conditions, and there is an account set up at the Copper Basin Federal Credit Union in their names.
Crowder wants to send a message to all of the people who have helped them so far.
'I'm so grateful, there's nothing that I can say or to do to re-thank y'all," Crowder said, "But we love each and every one of y'all from the bottom of our heart."
Crowder thinks the fire started from a malfunction in the truck but it's still being investigated.