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WARNING: Many of the pictures in Kyle's blog, linked to below, are of a graphic nature. They clearly show third degree burns, some of them fresh or bloody. His blog is not for the faint-hearted but you can get the gist of it here, without seeing the injury.
Kyle White wrote this blog to document his accident and recovery. It also serves as a lesson and warning to all fire spinners, new and experienced, to take safety seriously. Kyle wants us to learn from his mistakes so we don't have to go thourgh the trauma he has endured. You can get more fire safety information here and a guide to first aid for burns here.
Kyle is from the USA and was spinning fire at a small gathering of friends. He designated a safety officer but they were not equipped with the right safety tools. The other big oversight was leaving two fuel containers open and under a low hanging palm tree.
Now, Kyle, like most American spinners, was using white gas as his fuel. Most Europeans use paraffin, which is also known as lamp oil in the US. There are big differences between white gas and paraffin with pros and cons to each. The debate over which is safest will continue forever, I suspect, but it is safe to say Kyle's accident wouldn't have happened or would have at least been much less serious if he was using paraffin.
The reason for this is that paraffin does not ignite easily unless it is soaked into a wick. White gas, on the other hand, will ignite easily without a wick. Kyle spun off his poi creating two parallel lines of fire (an effect not achievable with paraffin) but he was too close to the open fuel containers. The fuel containers ignited and in his attempt to move one of them he knocked it over, worsening the situation and causing the flames to spread to his leg, hands and face.
The rest of Kyle's blog documents his time in hospital, his treatment and the long recovery period. Kyle is lucky to be alive. His optimism and perseverence are admirable and his story is touching and inspirational as well as a lesson in fire safety.
At the time of writing, Kyle's most recent blog post is 95 days after the accident. His pain level is a 7/10 which goes to show how long the recovery is. If you can stomach the honest, frank and often gruesome pictures we recommend you read his blog in full (the oldest posts are at the bottom).
Remember people, before you spin fire:
- Research and learn as much about safety for fire spinners as you can
- Learn about the fuel you are using and its properties
- Make sure you have the correct safety equipment and a safety officer