2 men receive skin grafts after explosion

Friends face long recovery for burns sustained in Kremmling incident

— Two Steamboat Springs men burned in an explosion at a Kremmling home last week have received temporary skin grafts and face long, challenging recovery periods.

Jordan Worden and Nate Gould, both 23, were home in Steamboat Springs on Sunday after receiving temporary grafts — called xenografts, using pig skin — at University Hospital in Denver. Gould said he has skin grafts on his forearms and will return to the hospital Friday to get permanent skin grafts on the back of his legs. The permanent grafts will use skin from his thigh, he said.

John Worden said his son, Jordan, has third-degree burns “from his elbows to his fingertips” on his arms and serious burns on one ear. Jordan Worden also will return to University Hospital on Friday, his father said, to get permanent skin grafts on his forearms and hands. How or whether the injuries will affect Jordan Worden’s future ability to use his hands is not yet clear. But his father said at the very least, Jordan Worden faces a long recovery period.

“He’s lucky to be alive,” John Worden said. “(It’s) going to be a while before he can even think about having employment.”

Gould said he and Jordan Worden have been friends since second grade in Adams Center, N.Y., where they grew up together in the small community close to the Canadian border. Jordan Worden came to Steamboat Springs about two years ago, his father said. Gould moved here about four months ago.

The two young men suffered serious burns when fumes from a primer they were using in the crawl space of a downtown Kremmling home ignited and caused an explosion at about 3 p.m. Aug. 24. Gould and Worden were rushed to Kremmling Memorial Hospital and then flown to University Hospital, Kremmling Police Chief Scott Spade said.

According to police, the men were performing mold remediation on behalf of Dry Masters, a Steamboat-based company.

Spade said last week the explosion is thought to be the result of a buildup of vapors from the primer the men were using to seal the home’s floor joists and underside of the subfloor. The ignition source that caused the explosion has not been identified.

“All I remember, really, is a real bright flash and my face mask just flying off my face, and I got thrown backwards about 10 feet,” Gould said Sunday. “I started inhaling smoke, and I eventually found my mask on the ground down there and was able to put it on for a quick second and get one more breath to climb over the fire and get out of there.”

Gould said Worden was close to the access hole when the explosion occurred and was able to immediately exit the crawl space.

Gould said because of the sensitivity of his skin after the temporary grafts fall off, he’ll have to wear long-sleeve shirts for the next year. He already can feel a burning sensation on his arms after just five minutes in sunlight, he said.

John Worden said his son also will have to use caution outdoors for quite some time.

“He’s not even supposed to be in the sun,” John Worden said. “I know he loves to ski in the winter, that’s why he lives out here, but he’s not going to be able to do that.”

Neither Gould nor Jordan Worden has medical insurance. John Worden said details for a fundraiser or benefit event have not been finalized.

“They’re both going to need help,” John Worden said Sunday. “I don’t know what to do. … I just thank God they’re both alive.”

Brent Boyer contributed to this story.

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