SADIEVILLE — The family of a man who had a large percentage of his body burned in an accident is reaching out to the community for help.
Frankie Smith, team member of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and father of three, was involved in an accident last weekend that left him critically injured with severe burns on 35 to 40 percent of his body. He is currently in stable condition and recovering at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
In an effort to help with the family’s medical bills, a Go Fund Me page was started by Smith’s friend and coworker Rusty Mynk. Smith’s fiancé, Destiny Pfeiffer, said she’s grateful for all of those willing to lend a hand during this difficult time.
“Frankie and I both appreciate it, and I have been trying to keep him up to date on everyone who’s donated,” she said. “He’s beyond grateful. We’re both beyond grateful. There’s no way that we will ever be able to repay everyone. We appreciate that everyone’s kept us in their thoughts and prayers. Everything is helping.”
Smith was burning a brush fire to clear out some trees on the night of Saturday, May 22. But the following afternoon, he accidentally poured gasoline instead of diesel to reignite the fire when the accident occurred.
“He went to relight and accidentally grabbed a full can of gas, thinking it was diesel,” Pfeiffer said. “So, he poured it on stuff that was still hot and, of course, it instantly combusted. It lit his hands and arms on fire, and he went to throw the gas can, and it blew up behind him. He fought to roll down the hill and try to put it out. He said he just kept rolling and rolling, and it seemed like it was never going to go out.”
Smith then ran inside the house and called his brother, Pfeiffer said.
“He speed-dialed his brother with no skin on his hands,” she said. “His brother is in Georgetown, and we live in Sadieville. Once he got home, he got into our shower and was trying to cool everything down. Once his brother showed up, he was sitting on the porch in just his boxers. He drove him to Love’s, and he was picked up by the helicopter and flown to Cincinnati.”
Since the accident, Smith had his breathing tube taken out, is able to talk and get out of the bed, Pfeiffer said. But he still has several surgeries, including skin grafts, ahead of him. The first of his surgeries was on Wednesday, May 26, and Pfeiffer said it went well.
“They grafted part of his arms that they could and his stomach,” she said. “They had to do a synthetic graft on his hands because of where they are completely missing skin. They have to wait on some of that to heal itself before they can graft it. His next one, they’re going to take a look at his back and his thighs, and hopefully then they’ll be able to start doing more with the hands and arms.”
According to the Go Fund Me page, Smith will be in the hospital for a minimum of 35 days, excluding recovery time. All of the funding will go toward repaying those hospital bills, Pfeiffer said.
“Obviously there’ll be travel expenses and things like that, but I’m mostly concerned with how this is going to affect us when bills start rolling in,” she said. “They said he’ll probably be back quite a bit even when he does get out for the next year or so to be sure everything is healing and growing back like it’s supposed to.”
Currently, the Go Fund Me page has a goal set for $10,000, but Pfeiffer said that was just an estimate to get the ball rolling. As of Monday afternoon, the Go Fund Me page had raised $3,895 from 36 donors. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/help-destinys-family-with-medical-bills.
Kyle Woosley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.