Sesser, Illinois man burned in a backyard explosion

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Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

SESSER, Ill. - This weekend you may find yourself breaking out the gardening gloves and getting busy cleaning up the yard, but there is a fire warning you should know about if you want to burn the branches and leaves you collect.

A Sesser, Illinois man learned the hard way the importance of knowing exactly what is hidden in your pile of brush before you set it on fire.

A week after the accident, Kelly Wezewich is nursing her husband Brian back to health.

"I honestly thought I was going to be a widow," said Kelly Wezewich.

He and his neighbors were gathering yard waste and piling it up to burn.

"As far as I knew it was just brush. Branches and dead branches underneath," said Brian Wezewich.

But that was not the case.

At the bottom of the pile were bags of leaves that had been sitting for a long time.

The longer they sit, the more methane is created.

Brian says he poured a couple ounces of gasoline on his pile, and before the match hit the brush, a blast threw him backwards.

"When I woke up I realized that something bad happened," said Wezewich.

His second and third degree burns were the result of a methane gas explosion...from a few simple bags of old leaves and branches.

"I just don't want anyone else to experience the same hurt that I experienced," said Wezewich.

He urges people to know exactly what it is they are burning before they strike a match.

Local 6 reached out to a couple local landfills and learned that methane gas explosions are more common than you might think.

The EPA has restricted yard waste from being dumped at landfills for this very reason.

Landfills are equipped with methane gas vents to ensure nothing explodes.

To make sure you are safe burning your yard waste this summer, make sure to not let your bags of leaves sit for an extended period of time.

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