Science experiment explodes, leaving 12-year-old and his mother with severe burns


A 12-year-old North Carolina boy is on a long road to recovery after a science experiment exploded, leaving him with second-and third-degree burns on 50% of his body, his family said.

Kyle McKim told WLOS his 12-year-old son, Barrett, was working on a science project Thursday at their Highlands home when something went horrifically wrong.

“It involved a Bunsen burner, and he was using a number of things. Alcohol was in the mix. Somehow in that process, that got ignited and kind of blew up and back into his face. He’s burned on about 50 percent of his body, and my understanding is that about 20% of those are third-degree and 30% are second-degree,” McKim said. “Fortunately, he was wearing protective glasses, which certainly helped, but he was wearing a synthetic shirt, which ended up being a real contributor in the fire staying and trying to get that off as it kind of melted away with the accelerant on there.”

Caroline McKim was also badly burned in the accident as she tried to save her son, McKim said.

“Caroline, although she’s yet to believe it, is a hero and I think a lot of the reason Barrett is alive,” Kyle said.

JUNE 28, 2022 – Kyle McKim said his 12-year-old son, Barrett, was burned on about 50 percent of his body when a science experiment went wrong. (Photo courtesy of Kyle McKim)

McKim said Caroline has already undergone one surgery and is scheduled for another this week. Barrett was in surgery for about four hours on Tuesday, McKim said, and likely has several others ahead.

Barrett and Caroline have a long road to recovery, but that road is made easier with a large, supportive family.

“We were several hundred miles away when we heard about it, and there was really nothing else that we could do at that moment but pray,” Barrett’s uncle, Stephen Schlautman, said. “The prognosis is that they’re going to be there for several weeks, if not months.”

Schlautman set up a GoFundMe page to help the family financially.

“I have never been through a tragedy like this, but I can only imagine the cost and expense,” Schlautman said. “I think anything that we can do would help.”

Overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, McKim, who has rarely left his son’s hospital bedside, is just happy Barrett is still with them.

“We’re very grateful the Lord protected him and he’s alive,” McKim said. “We continue to pray for healing for his little body and for his future. We know God has a real purpose for him.”

Video to this article in link below

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