DRAPER, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – A man burned in a Draper house fire was released from the hospital Tuesday after receiving third degree burns on his body.
Casey Kuwahara, 22, had to receive two skin graphs and said he is grateful to be alive. The fire broke out on Nov. 3 at the home on Pond Ridge Drive.
“You couldn’t walk in there without getting burned,” Kuwahara said. “The heat was just so intense.”
Kuwahara said his left forearm and leg were burned when embers fell from a blanket on fire. He said he ran outside the home and did not realize his skin was melting.
“Everything was going so fast and at the same time so slow,” he said.
Kuwahara said he was more concerned about his three dogs, a Pomeranian, a Boxer and a Mini Pincher.
Mother, Jessica Rodier, said neighbors had to hold Kuwahara from running back into the home to save the pets.
“It took three or four people to hold him down because he wanted to get in there and get those animals,” she said.
“I just felt guilty leaving them up there to burn alive,” Kuwahara said. “My dogs are like my family, especially the Boxer, and I can’t imaging them burning up.”
The three dogs were rescued thanks to firefighters.
“If the neighbors weren’t there he probably would have gone back in and been killed in the fire,” she said.
Kuwahara said he will never react that way again if he is ever in another fire. He warned others to walk away no matter if someone may be trapped inside.
“If your house is one fire it’s not even worth going back in there because if you get burned it’s not worth it in the end,” he added.
The family said they have a lot of rebuilding to do. It will likely take a year to get the interior of the home restored. The family also has mounting medical bills for Kuwahara.
Anyone who wishes to donate can do so at any Zion’s Bank under the name Casey Kuwahara.