Tarpon Springs mother killed, son injured in backyard fire pit explosion – WTSP.com

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TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — A Tarpon Springs community is rallying around a family following a devastating accident that killed a mother and left her 11-year-old son seriously injured. 
Jeff Foltz said in mid-November, his wife, Nicole, had only placed a log on the backyard fire pit and planned to pour a little gasoline. She was spending time with her family and best friend, trying to keep everyone warm.
As she went to pick up the gas can, it exploded on her, sending her to the hospital with burns to 95% of her body, Foltz said. 
In Foltz’s eyes, Nicole was pure love encapsulated.
“Just always bright and bubbly for everybody and always happy and had a smile,” he said. “Even on her bad days, she still put on that smile to just make everybody happy that she could, you know.”
Nicole died later at the hospital from her injuries. The couple’s son, Jeffrey, was also seriously burned.
“I was at his bedside 24 hours a day, slept right next to him, and the chair didn’t move,” Foltz said. “I’ve stayed as strong as I can for him and for her and for the rest of our family.”
After weeks in the hospital, 11-year-old Jeffrey was able to go home to continue his recovery.
In addition to being a loving mother and wife, Nicole was also a manager at Tarpon Tavern where she made a lasting impression on many customers. A GoFundMe created for the family has already raised upward of $23,000.
While accepting help doesn’t come easy for Foltz, he’s grateful for the community’s outpouring of support. 
“I still find myself not asking for help, even though I should,” he explained. “But we’re fighting and staying in the game as much as we can.”
By sharing their family’s story, Foltz hopes to reach others when it comes to fire pit safety. 
“Think twice before using gasoline,” he said. “It’s definitely not safe, but everyone’s done it. Everyone does it, and, just be careful because it’s…a life changer…and they can rip your whole world apart in the blink of an eye.”
If you’re interested in helping the family with medical expenses, a celebration of life service and more, you can find more information on the GoFundMe page set up for the Foltz family.
Click here to learn more about backyard fire pit safety.
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