HYRUM — A Hyrum man who police say was "engulfed in flames" was hospitalized in extremely critical condition Wednesday with third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body.
Ray Jessop, 81, was burning weeds next to his back fence with a propane torch about 11 a.m. when his clothing caught fire, according to the Cache County Sheriff's Office. He was discovered by a teenager who had been helping him.
Jessop was taken to Logan Regional Hospital and then transported by medical helicopter to the burn center at University Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Braxton Wood, who lives by Jessop, had gone to fetch equipment to help his neighbor cut the lawn. When he returned, he found Jessop trembling and smoke coming off his burned body, with the clothes burned away and the hair gone from his head.
"He was just sitting there shaking," Wood said. "I asked if he was OK and he just kind of nodded his head really weakly. He wasn't doing too good."
Wood put out the fire, which had caught a wood fence post, while another neighbor alerted Jessop's wife and called 911.
Braxton Wood's mother, Toni Wood, said Jessop was "meticulous" about caring for his yard, spending a considerable amount of time working around his house and garden.
"He shares the fruits of his labor with his neighbors," Toni Woods said. "He just keeps working on his yard and doing the things he's always done before."
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company