Local News

Halifax paramedic, daughter seriously injured in Christmas Day explosion

Posted December 30, 2015

— A paramedic coming off a 78-hour shift is fighting for her life after being critically injured in an explosion outside her home on Christmas Day. Her youngest daughter was also seriously hurt.

Fire officials said they believe Lorrie Williams, a single mother of five girls and a paramedic for Gaston and Halifax counties, may have mistakenly added a can containing gasoline to a controlled burn in her backyard, thinking it was an empty can of kerosene.

“I ran outside, and my mom was just covered in flames,” 14-year-old Alexis Williams said. “She was trying to roll – stop, drop and roll – and I told her to get up and go jump in the pool, and that’s what she did.”

Dallas Williams, Alexis' 13-year-old sister, also was burned in the explosion.

Dallas had a successful skin graft surgery Tuesday, and doctors say she could be home by this weekend. The prognosis is much worse for her mother.

Lorrie Williams was burned on 80 percent of her body and is in a medically induced coma at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals. She will likely be in a coma for at least six months and have to stay in the burn center at least a year if she survives, officials said.

“They can’t promise two minutes from now. They can’t promise a second from now. It’s just day by day, minute by minute,” said Kaitlinn Jones, 23, Williams’ oldest daughter.

Jones now faces a new role – caring for her younger sisters.

“It’s a lot. I’ve picked up the phone several times to call my mom and can’t get an answer – well, the answer I’m looking for,” she said.

Several local businesses have already stepped up to offer fundraising support to offset an avalanche of expected medical bills. And a fellow EMS worker created a GoFundMe account to raise money for the family.

Williams’ second-oldest daughter, Brittanie Jones, 22, says the family hasn’t given up hope.

“We still think our mom’s coming home,” she said.

Likewise, fellow paramedics are hoping and praying for a miracle.

“She’s a strong willed woman, very independent,” paramedic Judy Griffin said. “She is a fighter. You cannot pray enough, and we just hope that she does survive this.”


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  • LetsBeFair Dec 31, 2015

    how a life can change in a second. Be good to your loved ones.

    and Milo, You can always renounce your citizenship and move to someplace 'better'.

  • Fred Kozlof Dec 31, 2015
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    What a tragic mistake. My prayers for a recovery.
    Now I'm going to pile on to the comments about raising money for medical bills.....It is totally Unacceptable for this country, to not have universal medical coverage. We have TRILLIONS of dollars to throw at the Iraq war that we should not have been in, but we can't take care of our own citizens. It's a disgrace that the GOP is perpetuating.
    I thought we are all to have LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but how can you have any of those, without your Health? For those reading this who are healthy, you're lucky. Millions of others have a very difficult time, unmatched in any other industrialized country.

  • Rhonda Arthur Dec 31, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    This country is still great. I agree with the other poster. You can always move to one you think is great.
    Praying for this lady and her family.

  • Steve Clark Dec 31, 2015
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    I was at Bragg when the Pope crash/fire happened. I remember seeing troops two years later, still wearing compression garmets, etc. so I know it's possible for her to make it through this, and she has a Lot to live for. I pray - Lord, let Your will be done. You work for Good, and all you do is Good. It's often hard for us to see, but I believe You always work for good. May Your will be done.-Amen

  • BigWillie Johnson Dec 31, 2015
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    I expect Christmas paper and packaging, and if they lived in a rural area, they may not have had garbage service.

  • Randi Thistle Dec 31, 2015
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    burning on Christmas day, are are you kidding me?

  • BigWillie Johnson Dec 31, 2015
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    Prayers to the family. Milo if you do not think this country is great there are flights to other countries leaving every day. Perhaps you should be on one, instead of expecting the government to be your perpetual Mommy. If you and your kind had not kept voting yourselves funds from the public treasury, there might be some funds left available to help the truly needy. 22 trillion on the war on poverty and we still have hungry people.

  • Brian West Dec 31, 2015
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    My sister was severely burned years ago when she was thrown from her house in RM after an LP leak blew her house up, she spent many months in UNC Burn Center, the staff there did an excellent job and gave her tbe best care in the world, praying she will with their help and God's help pull through this. Praying for the whole family as they go tbrough this ordeal. Still unable to thank Dr Bruce Cairns and his staff enough.

  • Golden Grahams Dec 31, 2015
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    May the Lord Jesus our savior touch and heal Lorrie Williams from her head to toes and give her five girls, family members, and friends the strength to carry on. Blessed in the name of the Lord, Amen!

  • David Craft Dec 31, 2015
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    My deepest sympathies for this woman and her family.. Best wishes for whateer the future holds and she will be in my prayers