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Farmington Man Suffers Burns In Explosion
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An explosive fireball caused by built up gasoline fumes inside a modular home in Farmington sent a local man to UC Davis with serious burns on Saturday night.

The man, whose name was not released due to privacy laws, suffered burns over more than half his body when he attempted to light a fireplace in his family's home in the 19000 block of Oakwood Road.

Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey said he had used gasoline in the fireplace and, when he went to light it after letting it soak in for a few minutes, the fumes had built up, resulting in an explosion.

"It was just a high flash explosion, basically a fireball," said Bailey. "Just a terrible, terrible thing."

Fire crews were initially dispatched to what was first reported as a vegetation fire, said Bailey.

"Then they came back (on the radio) and said it was a fire with an injury," she said, noting trucks were already rolling to the scene. "Then dispatch said it was a possible structure fire, so we didn't know what we were going to."

The call came in about 8:45 p.m. and luckily, said Bailey, crews were able to knock down the fire fairly quickly, limiting the damage to the home. The injured man, a 23-year-old, was stabilized as best as possible at the scene and taken to a Modesto hospital first, then transferred to UC Davis Medical Center to the burn unit.

"He's got third degree burns over about 70 percent of his body," explained Bailey. "He's doing okay, he's going to make it ... but he's got a long recuperation period ahead."

No one else in the home was injured, though the fireball melted blinds in the living room and caused scorching and heat damage in other areas. The family was offered assistance but declined Red Cross aid, Bailey said, noting that they had other family in the area that they could stay with temporarily.

"The house is still standing," said Bailey. "We were able to knock the fire down pretty well. But it was a very hot room for a while."

Along with firefighters from Farmington, the effort included the response of engines from Linden and Escalon and a water tender from Collegeville. Escalon Community Ambulance also responded to the scene.

Bailey said the victim is "a strong young man" and is holding his own.

"We're getting ready to do our Fill The Boot," she added, admitting that this time it will be more personal.

That annual effort raises money for the Firefighters Burn Institute and helps fire victims, like the one injured this weekend.

"That is what the money is for, helping people from our district," Bailey explained. "If there was ever a time we needed this (fundraiser), this is the year to do it."