Mother of man burned in tar accident speaks out

The mother of a man burned in a horrible tar accident is speaking out on her son's recovery.

41-year-old Tommy Basham was burned while working on a construction project two weeks ago at a Bullitt County elementary school.

Basham is currently in serious, but stable, condition at University Hospital in Louisville. He's being treated for burns over 40 percent of his body.

Basham's mother has never left his side, and as she prays for his recovery, investigators are still trying to determine the cause of this horrible accident.

A tar kettle exploded on the construction site, spraying Basham with tar, which was 575 degrees.

"They couldn't get the tar off. He was screaming," Karen Fimbres, Basham's mother said.

Investigators have now determined the safety device, set to cool the tar when it reaches a temperature of 450 degrees, was bypassed to keep the tar at a higher temperature. They think that's what caused the tar to overheat, and ultimately explode.

Workers interviewed as part of the investigation says hotter tar speeds up the roofing process.

Fimbres is focusing not on the investigation, but on her son. He has a long way to go before he'll leave the hospital.

"He's got third degree burns on 40 percent of his body," Fimbres said. "I tell him every day how much I love him."

Fimbres says doctors are hoping to begin skin grafts next week.

It's unclear how long he'll have to stay in the hospital, but estimates are up to two or three months.

It could take years before he recovers.

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