Fayetteville principal seriously burned at school cookout

Posted June 11, 2015 3:56 p.m. EDT
Updated June 11, 2015 10:23 p.m. EDT

— The principal of Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville suffered third-degree burns Thursday when a propane grill malfunctioned right before the school's senior picnic.

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

"It was really tough, unexpected," said Larry Parker, the school's assistant principal. "Our prayers are with him. Something like that you really can't plan for. We got to continue doing what we were doing and hopefully everything turns out well."

Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till said Seventy-First High was having a cookout for its seniors at Mazerick Park on the day before graduation. Williams was having trouble lighting one of grills, and when he opened one of the lids, the fumes ignited, fire officials said.

No students were in the area when the accident happened, school officials said. The picnic went on as planned, as will graduation on Friday.

One of the school's assistant principals will handle Williams' graduation duties.

"Kids are very resilient," said Gary Porter, another school assistant principal. "A lot of times we don't have to say much of anything to them. They will carry on and it helped a lot with them not being there when the accident did happen."