College student recovering after suffering severe burns at summer job

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CRAFTON, Pa. - A local college student home on summer break who suffered serious burns at his summer job continues healing weeks after the accident.

Bennett Cooper, a sophomore at Clemson University, suffered burns on 35 percent of his body in an accident while working for working for Crafton Boro’s Public Works Department.

Cooper said he was spraying weeds with a gasoline-diesel fuel mixture that ended up setting his clothes and body on fire about two weeks ago.

“Originally they gave us a pressurized spray can and told us to light a section. After light it, walk behind it and spray it while it was on fire,” Cooper said. “Being it was a diesel mix, it went up pretty fast. I dropped the can, rolled around and it was not putting out, it was feeding it.”

Cooper said he then ripped off all of his clothes, but still continued to burn.

“I was rolling around trying to put it out. Stop, drop and roll is what everyone talks about, but it wasn’t working,” Cooper said.

After more than a week in the West Penn burn unit, Cooper is recovering at home.

His mother, Paula Escobar, said they haven’t heard from the Crafton Boro.

“We had an initial apology, but haven’t heard a word since. That makes me sad,” Escobar said.

Officials from the Crafton Boro said the supervisor was suspended for 10 days and demoted.

The manager also told Channel 11’s Cara Sapida that the supervisor, along with two council members visited Cooper in the hospital.

Cooper said he’s waiting to find out from his doctors if he will be allowed to go back to school on time in the fall.