A Small Prayer

By: Gordon Pranger
December 8, 1987

School was almost out when I called my grandparents up and told them they did not need to pick me up from school. I was going to be staying late and I would find a ride home. I ended up walking home after school carrying my saxophone. When I arrived home I called several of my friends to see if they wanted to come over and horse around or what not. Everyone was busy or had other plans so I went about my normal fascination, FIRE.


I walked out into the work room which was behind the garage and leads to the outside back yard. I picked up a Folgers can, filled it with a small amount of gas, lite the gas and sat there in the work room watching it burn. No harm in that right? As the flame started to become extinct I walked into the garage and retrieved a five gallon can of gas which was full, and started to pour it into the can which had the flame. The flame started to travel up the steam of pouring gas. I placed the large gas can down wondering what in the !@#$% I was thinking. As I did that the flame dribbled itself down into the Folgers can and I wiped my forehead thinking to myself I was fast enough. At that time a horrific noise from an explosion blasted my ears as well as myself and I saw nothing but and orange glow everywhere.

The explosion threw me back into the garage approximately eight feet. The reason I stopped was due to the work bench in the garage. The force of the explosion was so great that it blew the door to the garage and work room open, slammed it against the wall and bounced back to close. I do not know how long I was knocked out laying down, but when I came to, I was laying in a pool of gas and was lit. I rolled around, but all I was doing was covering myself in more gas...not to mention the fact that there was carpet in the garage and I was just catching it more on fire.

I jumped up, ran to the door going inside the house, it was locked (stays that away and have to use a screw driver to pry it open), tried to open the door which lead to the work room and into the back yard, unfortunately it did not have a door knob. My mind racing on what to do I ran to the garage door you let your car in and out of the garage. The lock on the door was jammed. Would not budge or turn. We had an eighteen foot bass boat in the garage, I jumped into the boat to grab the fire extinguisher...it did not work. While doing all this smaller explosions were going off around me...paints cans, oil cans, lawn mower gas tanks, a twenty-five gallon gas tank in the boat...and no telling what else.

After trying to get out of the garage I held my arms up in front of me with flames coming off, (could hardly breath because the fire was taking all my oxygen), looked at my arms and told myself that I was going to die and this was the worst way to go. But if God wanted me it was my time to go. And I said a small prayer that my family would not think that I committed suicide and I loved them all. I sat down next to the boat with my back leaning against the trailer and closed my eyes...


When I opened my eyes I was walking around. My body walked to the garage door you let your car in through, bent over, grabbed the handle and lifted the door open breaking the lock. Once the door was up my mind was clear again.

I looked out into the front yard and saw approximately thirty people standing around. At this point I did not feel anything nor did I have any clue as to how bad a shape I was in. I turned to look at the fire behind me, looked at the people in the front yard and ran out to them. When I made it to the grass I just hit the ground and rolled and rolled and rolled for approximately fifteen yards until the people stopped me, wrapped me in a wet bed spread and began to talk to me saying everything was going to be okay. I already assumed that. Had no question in my mind. I spoke to several people told them who to call, what the number was, and said "don't tell my mom I was in a fire, she is liable to hall butt down here so fast she will get in a wreck." I asked where the paramedic was because they only lived a quarter mile away and they where not there yet. I felt my body curling up like a piece of paper on fire...as well as tremendous heat.

The paramedic arrived, put the iv in me, placed me on a stretcher, and loaded me into the ambulance. At this point they did not know to wait on life flight or try and take me. I kept saying life flight would be better(but that was because I wanted a helicopter ride). So life flight arrived and they took me out of the ambulance. As they rolled me across the road each individual bump felt like thousands of needles going into my back. They loaded me into the helicopter. The nurse said that I was going to be fine. I just looked at her and said "that at least one good thing came out of this, I was getting a free helicopter ride." A tear rolled out of her eye, the helicopter took off and I passed out.