Man accidentally sets self on fire, dies
A Marion man who accidentally caught himself on fire while operating a welder Tuesday died at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, from serious burns.
Neighbor Jerry Dieter, who lives on the next block, heard Max Ewert calling for help and found him lying about six feet away from a welder set up next to his garage.
Dieter said the first time he heard someone calling for help, he wondered what was going on. The second time he heard Ewert’s call, Dieter went to see what the problem was.
Most of Ewert’s clothing already had burned away, Dieter said, but his shirt was still on fire.
Dieter placed his own jacket over Ewert to smother the flames and called 911.
“When I got there, the only thing he had left on him was his shirt,” Dieter said.
One shoe was still burning on Ewert’s foot.
“I got the fire out,” Dieter said.
Ewert’s wallet and coin purse were four feet away from where he was.
“He had a metal table he’d pulled out from his garage and he’d put everything out there,” Dieter said.
About a third of the back lawn was burning, apparently because of sparks, Dieter said.
Firefighters got the burning grass out before it spread to adjoining lawns.
“I should have gone when I first heard him,” Dieter said regretfully.
Emergency medical technicians removed debris from his wounds and covered him with sterile sheets before taking him to St. Luke Hospital, where a helicopter landed to transfer him to Wichita.
Emergency responders estimated that Ewert had burns over 70% of his body.
Family members confirmed Tuesday night that Ewert had died.
Last modified March 17, 2022