Floyd Coverstone loved being outside and took pride in his garden.
He was stubborn and loud, and loved to talk to people.
“We was always a very hard worker,” said Megan Billhimer, one of his three daughters.
Coverstone, 64, succumbed to second and third-degree burns and smoke inhalation injuries Monday night after his clothing caught fire in the basement of his home at 79 Massanutten Drive, Edinburg, Joe Loving, assistant fire marshal in the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s Office, said Tuesday.
Coverstone had attempted to use a petroleum liquid, like gasoline, to start the fire in a fireplace and his clothes caught on fire, Loving said.
His daughter, Amber Coverstone, 34, told fire personnel she heard a boom in the basement and her father yell, Loving said. She went downstairs to help, poured water on him and immediately called 911, Loving said. Amber Coverstone was not injured.
The call came in at 4:17 p.m., Loving said, and the Sheriff’s Office was the first on scene at 4:22 p.m., with Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue firefighters arriving shortly afterward. First responders from both agencies entered the building and found Coverstone unconscious in the basement doorway, Loving said.
He was treated at the scene and flown to the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C., where doctors requested the family to visit because of the grave injuries he sustained, Loving said. Coverstone died late Monday night around midnight, with about 60 percent of his body burned, Loving said. He was burned from the waist up.
Unlike a cut that can be bandaged or stitched, burns can’t be corrected, Loving said. The burns went down through the top layers of Coverstone’s skin, Loving said.
“He used that fireplace since we were babies,” said Billhimer, 29, of her father’s familiarity with the woodstove.
She hopes the accident prevents someone from using gasoline to start a fire because it can cause an explosion, it’s not safe and “definitely fatal,” she said. Loving also said not to use gasoline when igniting fires.
Minimal damage to the home consisted of residual smoke and was contained to the area where Coverstone was found, Loving said. Responding units also included the Edinburg, Woodstock, Mount Jackson, and Conicville fire departments and Woodstock Rescue Squad.
Amber Coverstone is staying with Billhimer, her husband and child. Anyone looking to provide any assistance is asked to call Billhimer at 540-252-6041.