Local News

Fayetteville principal misses graduation after suffering third-degree burns

Posted June 12, 2015

The principal of Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville watched his students graduate on a television monitor from his hospital room Friday after suffering third-degree burns at a senior picnic just the day before.

Myron Williams was taken to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill Thursday afternoon, where he was listed in good condition.

School leaders said Williams was trying to light a propane grill at Lake Rim when it malfunctioned right before the school's senior picnic.

No students were in the area when the accident happened, school officials said.

"He bent down to see why it wasn't lighting, and it flashed on him and caused his shirt to melt to his skin," Superintendent Frank Till said. "He has burns on his right side."

Larry Parker, the school's assistant principal , spoke on behalf of Williams as students walked across the stage.

"I am here today on behalf of Mr. Williams who was injured at the senior picnic yesterday," he said to a packed crowd at Crown Coliseum. "He is being well cared for, and he is watching via live feed right now from Chapel Hill."

Kim Williams was at the picnic at about 1 p.m. with her daughter who is graduating.

"We must have just left when it happened," she said. "It was just a sad thing to hear about. I hear he is doing OK, and I'm praying for a fast recovery."

Although Williams was not there to support his students in person, Parker read his words of encouragement.

"I will look forward to hearing from you over time and perhaps will shock you by calling you by name," he said. "Travel well, travel safely and be blessed with peace of mind."

Till said Williams is expected to be in Chapel Hill for a few days before he is able to continue his recovery at home.

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