Local News

Kinston Burn Victim Continues To Make Progress

Posted January 28, 2004

— A man who survived being severely burned in an explosion at a pharmaceuticals plant said the explosion turned his life around for the better.

Robert Fuller was inside the West Pharmaceuticals plant in Kinston when it exploded. The explosion shattered windows a mile away, and the smoke from the plant could be seen for more than 30 miles.

Fuller, who was severely burned over about a third of his body, left the Jaycee Burn Center in March. He said he is making progress.

"[I'm] walking better, talking better, eating better," he said.

Fuller said he has just one more plastic surgery left. He said although things are much better physically, he has lots of healing ahead.

"I still have the memories from what happened, and that's a one-day-at-a-time step," he said.

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the explosion. Fuller said he probably will not go to Thursday's memorial service because he fears it will be too painful.

But he promised to pray for his fallen co-workers.

"Every time the 29th of any month rolls around, I remember them, and I think about them," he said.

Fuller does not plan to go back to work at West Pharmaceuticals when the new plant opens in Kinston. Instead, he is back in school and plans to open his own music business.

He said he prefers to remember the explosion for its positive impact.

"From that day to this one, I've never taken any day for granted," Fuller said.

Fuller expects to have his last surgery at UNC Hospitals in two weeks. It was postponed this week because of the winter weather.

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