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Fayetteville principal back at home after suffering third-degree burns

Posted July 7, 2015

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— The principal of Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville was back at home Tuesday after suffering third-degree burns at a senior picnic nearly a month ago.

Myron Williams was trying to light a gas grill at the school's senior picnic at Mazarick Park on June 11 when it exploded.

"I kneeled down to the part where you flip it open and relight it," he said. "I flicked my lighter, and I watched. I saw the gas combust, and it pretty much exploded in my face."

Williams said the accident seemed to unfold in slow motion.

"I watched the flames hit me, and I did a little upward movement," he said. "Then it exploded and knocked me about 24 feet."

As a result, Williams suffered third-degree burns over 18 percent of his body.

He was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, but was then flown to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Williams said at first he did not want to go. He wanted to be bandaged so that he could officiate his school's graduation the next day.

"A young lady grabbed me by the hand and said 'Mr. Williams, I don't know anything about graduation, but if you don't get on the helicopter, you are going to die.' And I changed my mind and thought process," he said.

Williams was not able to attend graduation, but he watched on a computer screen from his hospital bed. Although he missed graduation, he said he is looking forward to returning to the students and job he loves so much.

"A second opportunity to continue what I was doing. Educating children to the best of my ability and motivating children to make good decisions," he said.

Williams plans to return to the school on Aug. 1.

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