GRAPHIC: Boy, 12, burned over half his body in science experiment explosion

Barrett McKim, 12, is hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns on half of his body...
Barrett McKim, 12, is hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns on half of his body after a science experiment he was working on exploded.(Source: GoFundMe, WLOS via CNN)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 4:34 AM CDT
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HIGHLANDS, N.C. (WLOS) - A 12-year-old North Carolina boy and his mother have a long road to recovery after they were both badly burned when a science experiment exploded.

Barrett McKim, 12, is hospitalized at the Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, after a science experiment he was working on exploded. He now has second- and third-degree burns on half of his body.

His father, Kyle McKim, says the fiery accident happened Thursday at the family’s Highlands, North Carolina, home.

“It involved a Bunsen burner, and he was using a number of things. Alcohol was in the mix there, and somehow in that process, that got ignited and kinda blew up and back into his face,” Kyle 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.”

Barrett’s mother, Caroline McKim, was also badly burned while trying to save her son.

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

GRAPHIC WARNING: This video may contain disturbing content.

Barrett and his mother have a long road to recovery. Both have already undergone at least one surgery, and more are expected. However, the journey has been made easier by a supportive family. The boy’s uncle, Stephen Schlautman, set up a GoFundMe to help out.

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

Kyle McKim, who has rarely left his son’s hospital bedside, is happy Barrett is still alive and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

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

The family is expected to spend several weeks in the hospital, if not months.

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