Fans badly burned in bonfire

April 8, 2009 5:16:51 PM PDT
It seemed like fun for Andrew Madlon. Fans were celebrating UNC's victory over Villanova Saturday. Franklin Street was packed and the bonfire was raging."He just kind of picked me up without letting me know what was going on and sent me crowd surfing," recalled Madlon. "And the crowd just kind of ran out and I got dropped onto the fire.

Madlon says he wasn't drunk and got up quickly after being dropped in the fire, but the damage was done to his right arm.

"Like the side of it that got burnt was all black and I thought maybe it was just the first layer of skin," said Madlon. "I was really surprised by how much damage you could do that quickly."

It turned out it was no superficial burn.

Doctor Bruce Cairns with the Jaycee Burn Center at UNC tries to warn students of the danger of bonfires every year. What seems like harmless fun is anything but. Mixing hot flames, a big crowd, and alcohol can be a dangerous mix.

"They might require skin grafting. Certainly, the risk of infection because of all the charcoal and dirt in the wound itself," he explained. "Even if you heal without surgery, you still can have significant problems, not just in a few weeks or months but in a few years."

Madlon had to have surgery. He's one of eight students treated at the burn center after UNC's wins. He wants everyone to know anyone can get hurt when there's a bonfire burning on Franklin Street.

"You think that the people who will get hurt are the ones jumping over it or the people swinging around branches or shirts that they set on fire but that wasn't actually the case at all," he said.


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