A Marion volunteer firefighter who was hurt when a bonfire exploded may be released from a hospital as early as today. Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to determine what caused the explosion.
Here is the latest news release from the town of Marion:
On Thursday, 20 September, following parade detail, five Marion firefighters volunteered to assist high school personnel with the annual Homecoming Bonfire at Marion Stadium. Quint 2 and Tanker 1 responded and staged near the bonfire for assistance and standby. Lt. Matthew May was Officer in Charge. Other firefighters were Dale Dunford, Chase Hopkins, April Shipley, and Roger Tilson.
At approximately 1900 hours, May, Hopkins, and Dunford were making final check and preparations for the event. Dunford was approximately five feet from the burn pile with the road flare to be used to ignite the fire. Upon ignition, the entire pile exploded. May jumped into the adjacent ditch. Hopkins was surrounded by the flames.
Shipley and Tilson began emergency treatment and called for Marion Life Saving Crew. Upon arrival, MLSC personnel called for additional Advanced Life Saving assistance and air transport. No air transport was available, so Hopkins was transported by ambulance to Smyth County Community Hospital.
May refused treatment on scene. Dunford was treated at SCCH and released with superficial and first degree burns to his arm. Hopkins was transported via air ambulance to the Burn Center at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC to be treated for first and second degree burns to his arm, chest, neck and face.
“I’ve spoken with Chase this morning, and he’s in good spirits,” said Marion fire chief Todd May. “He’s hopeful that he may be released and get to come home today, and we continue to ask the community to surround him and his family with prayers for a speedy recovery.”
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with additional information, including photographs or video is asked to call the Marion Police Department at (276) 783-8145.
A firefighter in Marion is seriously hurt after a bonfire exploded.
That fire was part of the high school's homecoming celebrations Thursday.
There's no word on what caused it to explode, but it left that volunteer firefighter with first and second degree burns on a tenth of his body.
He had to be flown to a burn center at a hospital in North Carolina.
Two other firefighers were also hurt, but not nearly as badly.
All of the students are all right.