Burned welder remains in hospital

A West Prince man remains in hospital following a weekend fire in O'Leary.

A West Prince man remains in hospital following a weekend fire in O'Leary, P.E.I.

The man was badly burned after his clothes caught fire in a welding accident.

Ron Phillips, the fire chief for O'Leary, said the man is now at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

Vance Easter, 54, was severely burned Saturday while working alone at his welding shop. Phillips said it was a malfunction with the hoses on the man's acetylene torches. 

"Not sure if they burned through or there was a failure in the hoses themselves, but at any rate, the fire did start in that area," the fire chief said.

Easter owns Western Welding and is listed on the company's site as a certified welder. It also says the original shop was destroyed by fire in 1999.

The shop was not badly damaged Saturday and the fire chief said the welding tanks remained intact.

Easter was taken to Prince County Hospital in Summerside and then to Halifax.

He is a lifelong resident of O'Leary and well known in the community. The fire chief said firefighers were shaken up to see him injured. A trauma counsellor will meet with them Tuesday night.

"When you see the sights that we see in the business, occasionally you have to sit down and let it all out. That's what we'll do this evening," Phillips said.

The Occupational Health and Safety Board inspected the welding shop. Director Bill Reid said they are trying to figure out what happened and whether future incidents could be prevented.