LaPorte man, 83, hurt while burning leaves

2014-04-03T17:18:00Z 2014-04-03T20:27:19Z LaPorte man, 83, hurt while burning leavesStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 03, 2014 5:18 pm  • 

An 83-year-old LaPorte area man suffered third-degree burns Wednesday after his clothing and his golf cart caught fire.

Robert Kindig wound up in a burn unit in  Fort Wayne with the worst burns on both of his legs from the knee to ankle.

Doctors wanted to keep him for three days but released him after he insisted on going back home.

Kindig said he's on pain killers but aside from that, "it's not bad. I can move around without any problems," he said on Thursday.

It was just before 4 p.m. when Kindig was burning leaves and noticed the flames fanned by gusty winds spreading toward his neighbor's vinyl privacy fence.

Kindig said he tried stomping out the flames but in the process his pant legs caught fire.

He climbed back onto the golf cart that he uses to work on his 4 acre parcel in the 5900 block of West Schultz Road between LaPorte and Michigan City.

The back end was on fire as he drove about the distance of a city block to his house and used a garden hose to extinguish the burning golf cart.

By then, he had used his hands to put out the flames on his clothing.

His legs are heavily bandaged and he also sustained lesser burns to his face and right hand, said his wife, Diane.

"They got him pretty wrapped up," said Diane, who drove her husband to IU Health LaPorte hospital, which had him transferred to the outside burn treatment center.

She said her husband will have to keep going back to Fort Wayne maybe twice a week or more for outpatient treatment of his burns at least for the forseeable future.

The heat from the flames did cause some melting of a 100 foot stretch of the privacy fence belonging to his neighbor, Adrian Williams.

Williams said he was having a cup of coffee when he looked out the window and saw the fire and rushed outside.

"It was like the lower bluejeans half way up to his calves were gone," said Williams.

Kindig said burning leaves is something he's often done throughout the years using his golf cart equipped with rakes and other yard work utensils.

He vowed to never again set fire to leaves.

"I think I learned my lesson," said Kindig.

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