Havre Daily News
A Havre man remains in a Salt Lake City burn center after being severely burned by exploding fireworks on July Fourth.
Jack Halter is in stable condition with good vital signs at the Intermountain Burn Center, his wife, Beverly, said today. She said he has burns on most of his face, arms and hands.
The incident happened about 6:15 p.m. on Monday. Jack was on his sloped driveway on 15th Street West with family members lighting firecrackers while Beverly was inside. She was told that one of the explosives, described as larger than normal, rolled down the drive into a bag of other fireworks before exploding, she said. Halter ran to remove the bag from the area when contents of the bag exploded, she said.
He was then helped inside and got into the shower. An ambulance was called.
"It was just a fluke accident," she said.
After he arrived at Northern Montana Hospital, doctors there estimated that 35 percent of his body was burned, Beverly said, and recommended that he be taken to the Salt Lake City burn center. The center's plane arrived at midnight with a burn team on board, she said.
At the center, doctors determined that 17.5 percent of his body had either third- or second-degree burns. Because of swelling, the medical team does not know whether the burns are second or third degree, she said. She said they will know whether skin grafts will be necessary sometime next week.
Estimates of how long burn victims need to be hospitalized are generally figured by one day for each percent of the body burned, Beverly said, but she is not getting any promises from the doctors.
"The doctors there are very good, but very honest," she said. "I'm hoping that I can bring him home in 18 days."
The Halters had just begun moving to their new home in Rudyard. Beverly said her husband asked her to complete the move before coming to see him, and that is what she is planning to do. She said that all of their co-workers at Devon Energy, where they both work, have been very supportive, and that "the Devon crew's coming to move me at 8 a.m." today.
Halter works at Devon as a lease maintenance technician, described by his boss, Herman Hanstede, as jack-of-all-trades position. Beverly said he has worked in the natural gas business for 30 years, and that he "never received so much as a flash burn."