Hospitals Handle First Victims of Explosion - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hospitals Handle First Victims of Explosion

Rachel and Refugio Garcia barely made it out of the plant after the explosion, the flames and debris falling all around them. Rachel and Refugio Garcia barely made it out of the plant after the explosion, the flames and debris falling all around them.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - One flight, after another brought in victims of the refinery blast. The most critical were flown in, others were bussed in by ambulance. They sometimes stacked three deep to get patients into the trauma center for emergency care.

Families members anxiously waited nearby in the Hoskins BioMedical Building, next to Memorial's ER. Michael Brown's son, Darien, was critically burned on his face and arms. He has yet to see him.

"I just need to see him. I just want to see him. God knows, I just want to see him," cried Michael.

Michael held on to his wife and family, not knowing what is son is feeling, only what his last moments before being hurt were. "He called his brother at the time of the explosion and told him, 'The building's on fire! The building's on fire! I'm trying to get out!' Then his phone went dead," he said.

Rachel and Refugio Garcia barely made it out of the plant after the explosion, the flames and debris falling all around them. "They were on the first floor, on the bottom," translated their son, Jose. "They said it suddenly just blasted loud noises. My dad was just covering his ears from the noise. Everything was just coming down."

Jose learned of the explosion from friends, and immediately headed to Memorial where he found his parents suffered burns but were alive. "My mom has second degree burns on her back, part of her neck and her ear. My dad got second degree burns on the side of his neck and part of his arm," explained Jose.

They had serious injuries, but the Garcias were able to go home to recover. Not the case for most patients being seen by ER physician Dr. Jay Goldstein. "Everybody I've seen has been conscious," Dr. Goldstein said. "They've been able to say who they are and where they are. But their burns are pretty significant."

As of the last report, Memorial had 33 patients, most badly burned by the blast and resulting fire. Nineteen had to be flown on to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta for further treatment. Seven had been treated and released. Seven victims went to St. Joseph's/Candler emergency rooms. All have since been treated and released.

Some families are still waiting to learn something about the fate of their loved ones. Waiting, and praying is all they can do, as Michael is doing for his son. "I thank God for him being alive, and my prayers go out to the families."

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly