North Carolina Boy Gets Severely Burned after Failed Science Experiment


After an explosion at home, a North Carolina boy suffered second- and third-degree burns to half his body.

Barrett McKim, twelve years old, was doing a science experiment at home while he was on summer break with his mother and four siblings. AccordingThe New York Post.

Barrett’s father, Kyle McKim, told the New York Post that Barrett liked working with different rocks and minerals and heating different ones up. On the day of the explosion, Barrett was working with fool’s gold after reading it can change colors, reported the New York Post.

“We don’t know if that was sparked by one of the sparks from the rocks or something with the Bunsen burner,”McKim spoke to the outlet. “We’ve looked at the lighter which seems like maybe it had a faulty connection. We don’t really know what ignited the accident, but it exploded up into his face and is what created the burn.”

After Barrett was airlifted in a helicopter to the JMS Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, doctors initially told Barrett’s parents that they thought the boy had burns on 40% of his body, but because the boy used isopropyl alcohol, an accelerant to get more heat during his experiment, The outlet reported that he has now had burns on half of his body. TwentyThree quarters of the burns are third or second-degree. 

According to the New York Post, the boy has been suffering from burns on his neck, lower face, arms, shoulders, chest, and thighs.

Barrett’s mother heard the explosion when it happened and was the one to call 911.

“Barrett runs out of the room, and he’s on fire. My wife was burnt, some on her hands as well, trying to just get the fire out and remove the shirt from Barrett,”McKim stated this to the New York Post. 

Barrett was not wearing a laboratory coat when the explosion happened, but rather a synthetic shirt. Accelerant made matters worse

“When I got [home], she was still dousing him with water on the floor and just trying to keep things cool, moist and wet with cold water,”McKim stated. “From the very time I came into the house, when he was screaming in pain, he wanted me to tell him the truth … asking if he’s going to die,”McKim spoke to the media outlet.

“Most likely it will be a year or so before Barrett is back into the swing of things,”McKim stated this to the New York Post. “Even with the healing of the skin, there’s just a whole other dynamic of the movement and stretching and the physical therapy that is of a real focus as well.”

According to GoFundMe, Barrett had his fourth surgery on July 7. Page to support Barrett’s family. The update on the page says that the boy’s fingers on his right hand are looking good but a few fingers on his left will need grafts.

Barrett has seen new skin after doctors temporarily placed cadaver skin transplants. It is believed that Barrett’s face will be able to heal completely without graphs, the New York Post reported.

According to the outlet Barrett cannot eat because he has burns in his mouth. His nose has been placed with a feeding tube by doctors.

GoFundMe has helped raise more than $87,000. The family uses it to update the public on his recovery every day.

“As horrible as this situation is, we have felt the prayers and those lifting Barrett up and certainly feel that the Lord is working in this for our good and for Barrett,”McKim stated this to the New York Post.