Clay Bradley had burns on nearly 70 percent of his body.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A Spring Hill man faces a long recovery after he was burned on nearly 70 percent of his body. To make matters worse, the fire happened in a remote cabin with no cell service and no hospital nearby.
But Clay Bradley survived, and the 23-year-old is now well on his way to healing.
"It was both my legs, both my arms and a little bit of my back," Bradley said. "I'm all disoriented, trying to get out of the fire - trying to crawl out of it - and by that time my clothes are on fire. I'm on fire."
Bradley and a friend were staying in a cabin near the Cherokee National Forest last month. They were making breakfast one morning when grease on the stove caught fire, sending flames shooting toward the ceiling.
Bradley grabbed the pan to take it outside.
"It burned my hand and, like, my hand was on fire," Bradley said. "I dropped it, and as soon as I dropped it, it just - whoof - went all over the floor."
Bradley slipped in the grease trying to escape the flames, burning his face, neck, arms and legs.
With no cell phone service available, Bradley's friend drove him to an emergency room 45 minutes away, from which medics later airlifted him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Bradley's father, Keith Bradley, saw his son for the first time nearly six hours after getting the call.
"It seemed like an absolute eternity because we didn't know anything. All we knew is he was burned from head to toe," Keith Bradley said. "He's motionless. He's burnt. It was terrible. It was really terrible."
But five surgeries, several skin graphs and weeks of physical therapy later, Clay Bradley is not only walking, but well on the road to a full recovery.
"He looks wonderful. I'm very excited, and he's going to recover. I have no doubt about that," Keith Bradley said.
"I just thank God that everything is going to be OK," Clay Bradley said.
Coincidentally, Clay Bradley is studying to fight forest fires and said his brush with death won't deter his plans.
His friends are raising money to help the Bradley family. If you would like to donate, there is a "Benefit Clayton Bradley Fund" set up at any Fifth Third or First Tennessee Bank branch.
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