Harrison County

Coast man burns 50 percent of his body during birthday party accident


A man who accidentally caught himself on fire at his birthday party will recover, but it’s going to take some time and a few surgeries, his family said.

The man, who asked to not be identified, was celebrating his birthday with family at a home on Northrup Cuevas Road in Lizana community when he accidentally poured gasoline on a bonfire, Harrison County Fire Services Chief Pat Sullivan said.

The man thought he was pouring diesel on the fire, not gasoline, Sullivan said.

Kristina Necaise, the victim’s daughter-in-law, said family members reacted quickly to get the man’s clothes off him and perform medical assistance until help arrived.

“We were able to get his clothes off of him pretty fast,” she said. “The doctors said that was very helpful for recovery.”

The man was taken by Flight Care Rescue 5 helicopter to the burn unit at the University of Southern Alabama Medical Center in Mobile. Necaise said her father-in-law suffered second- to third-degree burns to about 50 percent of his body.

He’ll likely stay at USA for about 56 days, she said.

“He’s in very good spirits,” she said.

The man underwent one surgery Wednesday morning, and Necaise said he was nervous but everything went well. He’ll have to undergo more surgeries and skin grafts.

She said she and the rest of the man’s family want to thank first responders who helped. She said the Lizana Volunteer Fire Department was the first to get to the home after she called 911.

“We’re very thankful that they responded so fast,” she said.

The Flight Care Rescue 5 crew were fast and helpful, she added.

Necaise would also like to thank the Harrison County dispatcher who answered her call.

“I want to personally thank her,” she said. “She did an awesome job just reassuring me that it was going to be OK.”

Doctors will monitor the man closely as he continues to heal, as burn victims can be susceptible to infection and sometimes pneumonia.

“He’s got a long road to recovery,” Necaise said.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @Journalism_J