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Spanish Fork family mourning grandfather after fatal grilling accident on Easter

Posted at 7:00 PM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 09:20:02-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah -- A Spanish Fork family suffered a heartbreaking Easter.

Their loved one, 73-year-old Larry Webster, caught on fire while grilling in the family's backyard.

“He was just grilling burgers,” said his daughter, Robin Thatcher.

“My husband figured he just flipped a burger, and the grease that comes from them just flared up and he was probably close enough—just a freak accident—how often would that happen?” said Webster’s other daughter, Kim Miller.

The daughters and Webster’s wife of 54 years, Betty, talked with Fox 13 about that dreadful afternoon on Easter Sunday and the scary week with their dad in the hospital.

Once the grill’s flames ignited Webster’s shirt, his family ran outside to help him.

“We seen the flash, we thought it was the barbecue," Miller said. "We saw him run, and I was out and we had it out in 15 seconds."

The problem was Webster could not drop and roll. He has had two knee replacements and the family says he kept telling them "I can’t" when they told him to drop to the ground. Miller stepped up to help him.

“ I got him on the ground and started rolling him,” Miller said. “My husband grabbed a blanket for the little bit left.”

The paramedics came and quickly saw how severe and widespread his burns were. They LifeFlighted Webster to the University of Utah Burn Center.

The family said on the first day he seemed to be doing OK, but then doctors later told them that his chance of survival was zero. On Wednesday afternoon, he died at the burn center with all his loved ones by his side.

“It was hard because we loved him, but it was the best for him and he is not hurting anymore and he is at peace,” Miller said.

The family wants to recognize the wonderful care from first responders and the team at the U of U Burn Center. They want everyone to remember their father for being a man of service in his community and among his big family.

He and his wife have three children, seven grand children and 10 great-grandchildren.

“He loved to help kids in all aspects,” Thatcher said. “He was an industrial type of father; he did a lot of wood shop and metals, involved in scouting, and loved spending time with kids, grandkids, great-grandkids. He was very outdoorsy. Always had horses, camping, fishing, hiking in the Uinta Mountains and Wind Rivers.”

Webster taught wood and metal shop classes in the Jordan School District before his retirement. Most recently he has been working as a substitute teacher at Payson Junior High School.

“He took in the hard kids,” Miller said. “He took in the kids with problems and he just got them; he helped them so much.”

The family has created a GoFundMe account to help them pay for Webster’s medical expenses. You can click on the link below to sign up to donate to that account.