By Sally Voth
A Middletown pizzeria worker burned in a flash fire from an oven Saturday is expected to recover, restaurant manager Keith Ridgeway said Monday.
"He's doing fine," the manager of Italian Touch, 7603 Main St., said. "He's going to recover."
Frederick County Fire and Rescue Assistant Fire Marshal William Pifer said the 911 came in at about 11 a.m., and Middletown Fire Department was at the restaurant within about three minutes.
"They found one victim that had some burns to his face and hands," Pifer said.
A pilot light on a malfunctioning pizza oven was out when employees came to work Saturday, according to Ridgeway.
"The victim was in the process of attempting to relight that pilot light when an accumulation of gas there at the appliance actually ignited in what we call a flash fire," Pifer said.
The fire flashed and ignited the worker, and then went out without catching anything else in the restaurant on fire, he said.
The burn victim was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, which has a burn center, Pifer said.
Ridgeway only knew the employee as Oscar, and said he expected him to be getting out of the hospital "in the next day or so." He hadn't talked to Oscar, but said another Spanish-speaking employee had.
"They said he was doing good," Ridgeway said. "The burn on his face is pretty much like a sunburn, so it wasn't as bad as we thought. He turned out OK."
There are no medical centers for patients suffering burns in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Pifer said. Several factors are involved when deciding whether to airlift a patient to one, he said, and include the percentage of the body burned, the degree of the burns, and the part of the body affected. He said burns to the face are a reason to fly someone to a burn unit.
Ridgeway said Italian Touch has set out a donation jar to help with Oscar's medical expenses. He said he had worked at the pizza place for a couple weeks.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or email@example.com