MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida man burned in an explosion while trying to light his barbecue spoke out about the scary ordeal and warned others ahead of the 4th of July weekend.
John Herrera is doing better after his gas BBQ grill exploded in his face last year but he’s still not 100 percent back to normal. His doctors from the burn unit said these accidents are actually pretty common especially during long weekends.
John Herrera’s life changed in February 2013 after his wife couldn’t get their BBQ to work.
Surveillance video cameras at Herrera’s home captured the moment when Herrera, not realizing his wife had left the grill’s main gas valve on, opened the lid, ignited the grill and it exploded.
“It dissipated enough that the lid didn’t become shrapnel. It didn’t blow up at me. It just kinda blew back,” said Herrera.
Doctors at Kendall Regional Medical Center said the explosion burned the skin off Herrera’s face and legs. They say these types of accidents are common in South Florida, especially during holiday weekends.
“Either they’re BBQ’s at home or they’re on a boat. They don’t do basic precaution. They start the gas, They close the lid and let it start up for a while. Then when they open the lid, there’s a gas build-up and an explosion,” said Dr. Carlos Medina with the Kendall Regional Medical Burn Center.
Although Herrera is getting better, he still has lingering effects like nerve damage but Dr. Medina said Herrera’s good health helped him survive.
“In a different person with a different medical condition like diabetes or heart problems or hypertension this could be a deadly injury,” said Medina.
“If I was aware of the dangers associated with BBQ’s and dealing with the enclosure and the gas that’s feeding it,” said Medina. “I’m much more alert to it now.”