Posted: Apr 24, 2013 1:01 PM by Laura Wilson
Updated: Apr 24, 2013 1:01 PM
LIBBY - A Libby teenager is in serious condition after incurring severe burns from an accidental gas explosion last week.
Zack Browning, 17, will likely spend another month in the Intensive Care Burn Unit at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center before being able to return to Montana, but his parents say he's getting better every day.
The high school senior was flown to Seattle last Wednesday after flames from a yard cleanup got too close to a gasoline can, causing it to explode.
Browning was in critical condition last week, with nearly 70% of his body covered in burns. But after a major surgery over the weekend that removed skin and deep tissue from his abdomen, arms, and legs, the burns now cover roughly 50% of his body.
There's some more good news this week as Zack has been able to start walking again, although it has been very difficult.
Zack's mom, Carrie, says she's happy to see how much progress her son has already made, but recognizes he has a long road to recovery.
"He's very frustrated. He's a very independent boy. He's trying to do things that he used to do before this accident, but he can't do it. He knows he can't right away," she told us.
"[But] he's going to pull through, he's a very determined young man. He's got a long road ahead of him that can take up to a year, year and a half, or two years," Carrie added.
Browning will not be released from the ICU until has body is at least 80% burn-free, and his next surgery is expected to take place later this week.
Zack was part of the Future Soldier program and had planned to enlist in the military when he graduated high school in June. He and his family are now hoping to delay his enlistment for at least a year because of his injuries.