Firefighter injured in Milwaukee duplex explosion leaves hospital
Tom Murray reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - Battalion Chief Ray Groth has a new appreciation for life.
"I could have easily been killed that day," he said.
A duplex explosion seriously wounded Groth and another veteran firefighter. Groth spoke with TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray on Tuesday before checking out of Columbia St. Mary's Regional Burn Center.
Groth suffered second degree burns on his arms, hands and face. His arms and hands are protected with healing wraps and mesh sleeves.
"All of the nurses, all of the staff here is amazed at how fast the healing is going," Groth said.
Groth seemed comfortable and says there is now little pain. His lips are scarred.
"They're a little bit harder because every time I eat, brush, shave, I tend to nick them or something," Groth said about his lips. "It's tough to leave them alone long enough to heal."
Groth and his partner were investigating a gas smell when the blast happened.
"I do remember the incident. I remember the aftermath," he said. "There are certainly things like being in the ER that I don't remember."
Doctors initially thought Groth would require an additional surgery, which would have prolonged the hospital stay. They scrubbed that plan given the patient's progress and cleared Groth to go home.
"Going home is always the goal of everyone that comes in here, returning them to functional life, returning them to their professional life," said Dr. Tom Schneider.
Groth thanked his nurses as he left Columbia St. Mary's with his wife. He is anxious to return to work.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to my first family, my wife and kids for a little bit. Then, I'm anticipating eagerly getting back to my job," Groth said.
Groth may be able to return to work as early as August.
Investigators are still working to pinpoint the cause of the gas explosion.
A resident injured in the blast remains hospitalized, a fire department official said.