Here's a Lessons Learned story that might be useful in the chemical safety context for a variety of audiences.
KBTX anchor burned by exploding wax fire shares safety tips, reminders
KBTX News Anchor Kathleen Witte is speaking publicly for the first time since she received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her body.
Witte was home on the evening of October 15th when candle wax in a jar began burning in her kitchen. She went to douse the fire with water, and that's when the jar exploded.
"At the time, I didnČ??t know that wax on fire is like grease on fire: it must be put out by suffocation, not water. Ignorant to this fact, and not thinking the situation through, I swiftly and rather confidently tossed a glass-full of water on the burning candle jar," said Witte.
Lesson #1: Never throw water on a wax fire.
Fire experts say if you do have a wax fire in your home, a dry chemical extinguisher or baking soda should be used to suffocate the flames.
"The fire and flaming wax exploded onto me. It was, quite easily, the most terrifying moment of my life," said Witte.
She was rushed to CHI St. Joseph Hospital and then taken by a medical helicopter to a burn unit in Houston. Most of her facial scars have healed, and makeup gives the illusion that nothing ever happened.
However, deeper scars on her hands, legs, torso and hip will take much longer to heal.
"My skin will be raw, pink, and extremely sensitive to sun for up to year. Look forward to me bringing hats and thick sunscreen back in style," she said.
She's very thankful for the flood of calls, emails, texts, dinners, flowers and other gifts she's received from family, friends and viewers.
"I've received messages from strangers who say 'hey, I'm praying for you.' It's just one more person out there who is rooting for you. That means a lot."
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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