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Family thought grandpa was lighting the Easter barbecue — but he was on fire

Larry Webster, a 73-year-old man from Spanish Fork, Utah, died after he started to prepare his family’s Easter barbecue meal on the grill — and caught on fire, the family said. He was burned on 48 percent of his body, doctors said, and leaves behind a wife, three children, seven grandchildren and ten great-grandkids.
Larry Webster, a 73-year-old man from Spanish Fork, Utah, died after he started to prepare his family’s Easter barbecue meal on the grill — and caught on fire, the family said. He was burned on 48 percent of his body, doctors said, and leaves behind a wife, three children, seven grandchildren and ten great-grandkids. Screenshot from Loving Larry Facebook

It was supposed to be a relaxing Easter barbecue for 73-year-old Larry Webster and his family.

Webster was outside of his home in Spanish Fork, Utah, according to Gephardt Daily, grilling some hamburgers for his family.

One of Larry Webster’s children looked outside and thought they saw the makings of a delicious Easter feast. That’s when they realized what was actually happening.

“My mom saw the flames out the window and said, ‘Oh look, Grandpa is lighting the barbecue,’” his granddaughter Mandee Webster told The Daily Herald. “My aunt turned around and said, ‘No, it’s him that’s on fire.’”

Mandee Webster said her family ran outside, urging their burning family member to roll on the ground to put out the flames. But that proved difficult, she said in an interview with the Daily Herald.

“He is a big guy who has had a double knee replacement,” she explained, “and he kept saying, ‘I can’t, I can’t.’”

It only took the family a few minutes to get the fire out, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Larry Webster even remained conscious as he tried to tell his family that he didn’t need to taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

First responders sent the man to the University of Utah’s Burn Center, where doctors informed the family that Larry Webster had burns on 48 percent of his body — and a zero percent chance of surviving, according to The Daily Herald.

He died on Wednesday, according to a GoFundMe page from his family.

“He is in a much better place now and no longer in pain,” one of his grandchildren wrote on the page. “Thank you all again for all of the love and support in during this difficult time. And please continue to share this page to help our family pay for his medical and funeral expenses.

“He will be sorely missed and forever be in our hearts.”

The family also created a Facebook page called Loving Larry. Relatives and friends alike have gone to the page to offer their condolences and talk about fond memories they had with him.

Larry Webster — who was teaching at a middle school — didn’t use lighter fluid before his death, Mandee Webster told The Salt Lake Tribune. Instead, his family believes he caught on fire when he leaned over the grill and his polyester shirt went up in flames.

That’s why Mandee Webster, who pursued a career in teaching because of her granddad, is hoping to raise awareness about safety when using grills.

“Ultimately we want people to realize how careful you need to be when you are barbecuing,” she told The Daily Herald. “He didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t pour lighter fluid on it or anything — nothing really stupid.

“We just want people to know in that split second how things can change,” she added. “Never put your guard down because it can change so fast.”

Accidental house fires are a serious safety threat. Learn how to cut down your risk by exercising these simple prevention tips.

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