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Cooking fire victim thankful for Alexander Burn Center at Hillcrest

Lela Choate wanted to make a holiday meal. She never dreamed it would end with her in the hospital.

Just a couple of days before Christmas 2021, the Bartlesville resident was preparing to cook deep-fried ribs for her family when a grease fire started and quickly escalated before burning out of control. The blaze charred portions of Choate’s home, which she had lived in for 25 years, down to the studs.

Fortunately, Choate survived the incident, but she did experience burns on the left side of her head, hands and chest. She was transported by ambulance to the Alexander Burn Center at Hillcrest. 

Choate needed a skin graph and was a patient at the burn center for three weeks before being discharged in mid-January. She praised the care she received while in the hospital.

“They were very good to me,” Choate said. “Everybody did a good job. Their nurses were wonderful.”

Choate said she learned a valuable when it comes to cooking safety in the future.

“Just be careful and be safe,” she said. “Now I don’t even want to cook. I think I’m going to be leery of fires for a while.”

Kara Hall, RN, nurse manager at the Alexander Burn Center, said if a cooking fire occurs, do not throw water on the fire. Instead, cover the fire with a pan and remove the heat source.

If clothes catch fire, she said to remove the clothing or stop, drop and roll. Do not run if clothes catch fire.

When a burn occurs, Hall suggested to remove clothing and jewelry and run tepid water over the burn, then cover with a clean, dry cloth or bandage. 

A person should seek medical attention when the burn has formed a blister larger than the palm of your hand, or involves the face, hands, feet or genitalia. If you experience a severe burn or injury while cooking, please call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.