Families Stand by Burn Victims in Augusta - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Families Stand by Burn Victims in Augusta

The Joseph M. Still Burn Center is part of Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. The Joseph M. Still Burn Center is part of Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW) - Relatives of the burn victims at the Imperial Sugar refinery are by their side at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, hoping for any sign of improvement. Twenty employees were admitted with severe burns from Thursday night's explosion. Seventeen of them are in medically-induced comas.

A new day brings new struggles for the Savannah refinery victims and their families.

"Seeing them in the condition that they are in, that was the most hard thing for me to bear," said Hallie Capers. "It was a lot worse then getting the news of what happened, by seeing that they were really hurt."

Capers and his family are really bearing a lot, with two nephews and a cousin all severely burned in the blast. Capers recalled his visit this afternoon with his nephews, John and Jamie Butler, brothers with young families.

"I spoke to them a little bit and didn't get any response," he said. "We're just praying they did hear something that was said."

"Most of them were in a medical coma because we're having to breathe for them on mechanical ventilation," explained Dr. Fred Mullins at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center. John, Jamie and their cousin, Al, are just three of the many faces of this tragedy. Tonight, Capers said they are all in critical condition. Doctors said many of the victims have a long road ahead.

"Some of them have very deep burns to the face and extremities," said Dr. Mullins. "There will be some scarring. We'll try to minimize that. Some of them will need reconstruction later on down the road."

Along with doctors, the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation and the Augusta community are stepping in to help.

"It's probably the largest disaster this foundation has been a part of," said Jerry Woods, the CEO of the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation.

That's in their 20 years of existence, but with blood, clothing and food donations pouring in, they say they've met the needs of the patients and their families for now.

"Our long term needs are yet to be determined," added Woods.

With some victims looking at six months of treatment and a lifetime of recovery, Capers and his family said they are getting through, thanks to their faith.

"We have to trust God and believe that He is able to bring them through it," he said. "That will be our prayer. That God will continue to heal them and also heal the family because of what they're going through at this time."

Reported by: Lynnsey Gardner, lynnsey.gardner@wrdw.com


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