A turkey hunting trip quickly took a horrible turn last Friday after a gas leak caused an explosion, injuring six people, including Flower Mound High School freshman Andrew Walling.
Walling, 15, just earned his learner’s permit that day, and his grandmother allowed him to drive her down to her friend’s hunting lease in West, Tex, about 100 miles south of Flower Mound.
After a long drive, the group went to their trailer to wind down and have dinner. When the stove was lit, a huge flame erupted, which turned into a massive explosion.
Walling and two others were flown by medical helicopter to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, which is known for its burn victim unit. He spent the next day in the intensive care unit with burns to 36 percent of his body.
Walling suffered second-degree burns on the lower half of both legs including his feet, his fingers to just past his elbows, and his neck. He also had minor burns on the left side of his face.
“Right now it’s a day by day process,” Kelly Walling, Andrew’s mother said. “They don’t know how long [recovery] is going to take.”
Andrew Walling’s grandmother, Frances Treadway, was thrown 30-feet into another room when the explosion occurred and received minor injuries.
“It was a real traumatic experience for her too,” Kelly Walling said. “She has much fewer injuries because of what [Andrew] did to protect her.”
For now, the road to recovery ahead of Walling won’t be easy, and it isn’t short. Walling will have to wear long pants and shirts and take protective measures to shelter his healing and damaged skin. But the family is grateful that he will get the opportunity to recover.
“I’m feeling blessed and optimistic, I think our whole family is,” Kelly Walling said. “He’s a strong guy and he’s going to pull through. He’s going to work his way back to a recovery.”