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Jacksonville man suffers burns to 80 percent of his body and lives to warn others

10:16 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Whether you're cleaning up a fire pit that you pulled out for this frozen start to the week or you plan on taking advantage of the coming weekend warm up by pulling out the BBQ, one Jacksonville man has a cautionary tale to share.

Dwight Johnson says a careless mistake nearly cost him his life. After receiving burns to 80 percent of his body and undergoing 22 surgeries, Johnson says he doesn't want anyone else to learn what he has the hard way.

In his kitchen is where you'll find Dwight Johnson cooking up most of his meals these days.

"I'm a superb cook," said Johnson. "I love to cook."

His love of serving a tasty dish leads Johnson to fire up the grill in October of 2012. While prepping he made what he now calls a foolish mistake. Johnson ran out of lighter fluid and instead used denatured alcohol.

"I'm scrubbing the grill and boom the whole container catches on fire and blows up on me and I'm on fire from head-to-foot," said Johnson

He remembers hitting the ground and rolling in the grass.

"The first thing I thought to do was stop, drop and roll," said Johnson. "But with the chemical the more I rolled the more I was on fire!"

He says luckily a neighbor knew what to do and smothered him with a doormat that he now keeps as a reminder.

"I suffer the consequences every day," said Johnson. "It's something I have to live with for the rest of my life."

Johnson says he has burns all over his body, with the exception of his back and the majority of his face.

"They used the skin off my back to put other places," said Johnson.

He tells FCN after spending five months in a burn unit, six weeks in rehab and undergoing nearly two dozen surgeries he still travels to Gainesville weekly for treatment.

"Last year this time I had a feeding tube up my nose, and I was fighting for my life," said Johnson.

Once depressed, now simply grateful to be alive, he shares his story every chance he gets. Encouraging other burn victims and warning people about making careless moves.

"God gave me another chance," said Johnson.

First For You, many household products are made of toxic chemicals. It is important to read and follow label instructions, including any precautions.

If someone is burned by a chemical it's best to flush the skin with cool water, that can also help to relieve the pain. For helpful information about chemical burns click on this link and for grilling safety tips follow this link.

First Coast News

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