SULLIVAN — A community is rallying for one of its own following a fire accident Sept. 11.
Dereck Connors “was just enjoying a bonfire with friends,” at his home when a serious accident occurred, Bekkah Morris told The American.
Morris is friends with Dereck and his wife, Veronika Bamford-Connors.
She explained that Dereck used an accelerant on the fire, which exploded in his hand. When he tried to get away, the flames spread to his lower legs.
Sullivan Fire/Rescue responded to the scene and Dereck was taken by ambulance to Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth. Shortly after his burns were initially treated and cleaned, he was taken by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center in Portland due to the severity of his injuries, Veronika explained.
Dereck received circumferential burns from the accident, which are burns that have surrounded his legs.
He spent time in Maine Medical Center’s intensive care burn unit before undergoing his first grafting surgery Sept. 14. More surgeries are likely.
He will be out of work at The Dunbar Store, where he is a cook, and Veronika has taken time away from Taunton Bay Soap Co., the business she co-owns with her previous husband, Norman Bamford.
Dereck has two adult children, a child with Veronika and the Bamfords/Connorses share a blended family.
Morris spoke of how the couple are community-minded people.
“They are some of the first people to donate towards benefits,” she said, and regularly “give back to the community,” through hosting events and fundraisers, participating in Earth Day clean ups and supporting a community garden at Taunton Bay Soap Co.
To help cover their time out of work and extensive medical bills, members of the community have organized a GoFundMe account and benefit supper slated for Oct. 23 at the Sorrento Sullivan Recreation Center on Route 1. Doors open at 4 p.m.
According to the GoFundMe page, which can be accessed at https://gofund.me/a0e630c0, the family does not have health insurance.
Organizers of the dinner are looking for food donations and raffle items. Those able to help can contact Helen Gordon at 422-3134, Cyndi Stanley at 422-3421 or the Frenchman Bay Library at 422-2307.