Residents show support for teen burned in gasoline explosion
A week after a horrific gasoline explosion put 17-year-old Libby resident Zack Browning in a Seattle hospital, community members are rallying around his family to give them the support they need.
Browning's stepfather, Jimmy Ray Fincher, won't ever forget what happened last Wednesday.
"[I heard] some really blood-curdling screams and I came outside to see my son in a ball of flames," Fincher said.
Friend and classmate Cody Kessel got the news when he checked his phone.
"When someone told me he was in the hospital and he got burned I threw everything down, got in my truck, and drove right down to the hospital."
But Browning was badly burned, second- and third-degree burns covered over 75 percent of his body, so he was airlifted to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center. Kessel knew he had to do something for Browning's family, so he set up donation bins around town.
On Wednesday, Fincher collected some of the funds and set up an account for Browning at the Lincoln County Credit Union. He tells NBC Montana the support has been overwhelming.
"To be able to afford to get back and forth and get him the things that he needs up there right now, it means a lot," said Fincher.
"Everyone needs to see how Zack is doing," continued Kessel. "I don't need any attention, I want to do it for Zack."
Browning is starting to walk again, a true testament to his spirit, according to Fincher. "He's determined. If he wants to get something done he's going to get it done."
If you'd like to donate to Browning and his family, you can mail or deliver checks to the Lincoln County Credit Union, PO Box 1586, Libby, MT, 59923.
Please make checks payable to James R. Fincher. They will be deposited directly in Zack's account.
The Libby VFW is also holding a fundraiser next week.