‘Freak accident’: Kansas fire chief recalls explosion that engulfed him in flames

  • Source: The Wichita Eagle - Metered Site
  • Published: 11/06/2023 12:00 AM

Russell fire chief Dylan Riedel now owns the motorcycle gas tank that changed his life forever when it exploded and engulfed him in flames this summer. It’s “just as a constant reminder that your life can change in an instant, so don’t take it for granted,” he said. The explosion happened less than 30 seconds after he got out of his fire truck. A football-size hole burst in the side of the gas tank, sending flames across the street. “It’s a freak accident … It just so happened I was in the right place at the wrong time and it happened to me,” Riedel said. The June fire sent him to the emergency room at Russell Regional Hospital before he was airlifted to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis burn unit in Wichita. He had burns on his head, neck, arms and legs. Most were first and second-degree but doctors think one spot was a third-degree burn. Riedel was back to work without restrictions by mid-July.


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