Houstonian fighting for his life after being burned trying to help friend light fireplace

HOUSTON – A Houston man is fighting for his life in a hospital after being badly burned while trying to help a friend light the fireplace in her home.

Now this friend hopes to help him recover even though her own house burns down.

With just a few glances into Marlo Scranton’s house, anyone can see that she is lucky enough to be alive. The lamps, walls and floors were burned crispy. Her 14-year-old home was unrecognizable.

“That’s the bedroom over there. This is where it first started, ”Scranton told KPRC 2.

“It just got so completely out of hand,” said Scranton.

Scranton said it all started Monday after her home was without power for two days in freezing weather.

“I was in the house on the second day. It was really cold. I really couldn’t take it anymore, so I had a fireplace and decided to have it lit, ”explained Scranton.

That friend was 48-year-old Steve Carl Walston, who she said insisted on coming over despite the cold weather.


“He’s just a good person: kind, cares about people,” said Scranton.

Scranton said Walston used lighter fluid and gas to start the fire and a gust of wind directed the fire outside and set Scranton and her home on fire. Firefighters say it is dangerous and advise against using lighter fluid or gas to light an indoor fireplace.

“He lit the fireplace and it just exploded and blew him up,” added Scranton.

The fire spread and almost caught her.

“He was completely on fire. He couldn’t see. He just followed my voice, ”said Scranton.

She led him outside.

“He was lying here,” said Scranton, pointing to the floor in front of her back door.

The door and windows exploded, injuring Scranton. Despite her pain and her house on fire, she ran for help.

“I did everything I could to save his life,” said Scranton.

She ran to the front of her house to ask people to call for help. The two were eventually hospitalized. Walston is now fighting for his life and undergoing several operations.


“From Monday today Thursday [he had] four surgeries and he’s got five more surgeries, ”said Scranton.

When Scranton got home the situation worsened.

“The pipe burst too,” Scranton said.

Her 14 year old home was flooded and destroyed. Although not sure what her next steps will be, she is determined to help her friend recover.

“For me at the moment the only thing that matters is that he makes it because materialistic things can be replaced and a life cannot,” said Scranton.

Walston’s family members created a GoFundMe page for his recovery.

Click here to donate to the Walston GoFundMe page.

Click here to donate to Marlo Scranton’s (homeowner) GoFundMe page.

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