Saturday, August 6 was just like any other work day when Daniel "Danny" Madden and his son, Aaron, reported to work for a commercial roofing job in the 9700 block of University City. But what started as an ordinary job for the roofers turned into a nightmare that has left Madden with burns on 65 percent of his body — and prompted his wife, Patricia King, to implore the community for help.
As his wife explains on the family's GoFundMe page
, it all started toward the end of the work day, when King was working the asphalt kettle and his son was mopping tar onto the roof. When his son's arms started to cramp, he traded jobs with him. Once he was done, he intended to throw the tar-soaked mop head to the ground as usual — but the tar stuck to his glove, causing him to fall off the roof and ultimately fall backward into the 600-degree burning asphalt kettle.
"It's every roofer's worst nightmare," Madden's son told KSDK in an interview
Madden's son and a friend immediately pulled him out, hosed him down with cold water and called an ambulance, but much damage had already been done: other than his right leg, Madden had been totally submerged in the hot tar, leaving 65 percent of his body covered in third degree burns. The two men who pulled him out also have their fair share of burn injuries.
A Vietnam veteran, Madden is not receiving VA benefits, and while workers compensation covers some medical bills, it does not cover aftercare. King explains that the road to recovery will be a long one: currently in an induced coma at Mercy Hospital, Madden will be in the hospital for at least three months and has already begun to undergo skin grafts. He also has an injured ankle, punctured lung and now pneumonia in addition to the burns, as KSDK reports. At press time, King also told the RFT
that a tracheotomy is planned to take place today.
What makes matters so horrible, King explains, is that Madden's son was in the exact same burn unit as a three-year-old back in 1979 after burns from a house fire — and now father and son have traded places. She emphasizes that everyone should appreciate everything they have, because it can change in a matter of seconds.
Despite the grim circumstances, however, King stresses how grateful they all are for the incredible outpouring of support they have received, as well as the care Madden has gotten.
"If you ever want to see a real-life angel, go to the fifth floor burn unit," she says.
King set the GoFundMe with a $100,000 goal to cover expenses and promises that any leftover funds will be donated to Shriner's Hospital for pediatric burn patients. So far they've raised less than $10,000.
For more details or to make a donation, visit GoFundMe.com.