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Family seeks closure after woman killed in deep fryer explosion

Posted June 26

— The family of a woman who died in 2012 when a deep fryer exploded say they cannot get closure because the final part of the case is still hanging over their heads.

Susan Woods, 56, died in December 2012 at the UNC Burn Center, five months after an explosion at the 710 Dragway, near Pembroke.

"It was Christmas Eve and she had bought all of her grandchildren Christmas presents but one granddaughter," said Rose Marie Cummings, Woods' sister.

Cummings said Woods was a mother of three and had nine grandchildren.

Family seeks closure after woman killed in deep fryer explosion

Woods was a cook all of her life and was working at the concession stand the day of the explosion. She was getting ready for an event when she needed cooking oil for the deep fryer.

Family members said Kethon Oxendine, the son of the dragway owner, gave Woods a container she thought was oil for the deep fryer.

"When she went there to get the cooking oil in the grease in the deep fryer, it wasn't oil. It was gas," Cummings said. "When she poured the gas in the deep fryer to fry the chicken, it exploded."

The court ordered a settlement of about $65,000, but family members said the Oxendines have yet to sign a check that has been sitting in an attorney's office.

"This is my mother and my father. She raised me. I never had a father...I just don't think it's right because they've got money," said Denise Scott, Woods' daughter. "You can't just kick it under the table and think it's alright. What if it was your mother?"

The family said their attorney has sent a letter to the Oxendines imposing a 10-percent penalty per-day if the check is not signed in 10 days.


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  • Cnc Stone Jun 27, 1:23 p.m.
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    That's works mans comp in nc the general assembly made it "ok "to kill your workers by taking the teeth out of the industrial commission and limiting settlements ? Be careful who u work for and what they ask u to do !

  • Janet Ghumri Jun 27, 12:36 p.m.
    user avatar

    What an insult to the family of this poor lady. Being "a cook all her life" shows that she was willing to do what it took to raise her family, and she would have known better than to literally pour gas into a vat of hot oil. What has been the delay, is there any reasonable excuse for waiting almost 5 years to sign over such a paltry ammount for her grieving family?? The check should be 10 times that ammount for the suffering she endured and the lack of compassion from the owners (whose son was the one who brought her the deadly, incorrect refill). There should be repercussions for such a heartless delay to the family. My heart goes out to them all. I would think another court case would be an option, if it wouldn't just delay it longer. Prayers for the family

  • Jewel Lee Jun 27, 10:57 a.m.
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    $65,000 is ALL they've been ordered to pay? And they won't/havent? What a slap in the face!! They should have been ordered to pay at least 6 digits. But they should have done it voluntarily! Funeral, hospital bills, some sort of compensation to each of her children should have been freely offered and given up by the one at fault or owners. Yet they are allowed to continue with life & business as usual after the horrific suffering that this poor woman endured, and her family is left to try to come to terms with it all. Did they not have any type of insurance at this track? The Low $65,000 amount is INSANE and the fact than it hasnt been paid is a slap in the face. Yet people continue to contribute to their business? Shame shame shame on the owners, and their enablers.

  • Wayne R. Douglas Jun 27, 1:19 a.m.
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    She made it through the absolutely worst part of being burned, only to die anyway. That is horrible. Speaking as a burn victim myself, I feed terrible for this lady and her family. God be with them. Everyone should boycott the Oxendine's dragway and send them out of business.