Hook's Repair, at the home of Ken and Pam Hooker, rural Rugby, was nearly destroyed by fire on Friday, Feb. 24. Ken Hooker, 54, who was working in his shop at the time, was injured in the fire. Hook's Repair is a vehicle repair business.
He was treated by Rugby Emergency Ambulance Service at the scene and at HAMC hospital in Rugby before being transported by Fargo's LifeFlight jet to the St. Paul Burn Center for further treatment. He was released from the burn center on Monday, Feb. 27 and arrived home in the late afternoon.
"We have been amazed at how his injuries are healing," said Pam Hooker. "He is here," said Pam. "He is fantastic and he will heal."
She went on to say that he had cut his hand and arm when he broke a window to get out of the shop. He had some first and second degree burns with no skin grafting necessary, according to Pam. The main concern was smoke inhalation and burns inside his throat which is why he was flown to the burn center.
While Ken was being airlifted to the Cities, Pam, her daughter, Jessica, and her two sons, Hudson, 8, and Kade, 4, from Harvey drove to Fargo and picked up the Hookers' son, Nathan, who then drove them to St. Paul.
"Ken can't talk well yet, but he is doing fine," said Pam.
The Hooker family credits his recovery to God. "Someone was carrying him all the way," said Pam.
She described what happened that day. "Ken had a gas tank pulled down to work on a car he was repairing, it slipped, knocking the trouble light to the floor where it broke and gave out a spark which ignited the gas. He was so lucky no gas spilled on him. He made his way to the door of the shop, but because of the suction caused by the fire, it wouldn't open. He ran to a window and punched it out and crawled through and fell to the ground. When the window opened the oxygen fed the fire. Still in shock, Ken covered the window to help stop the fire. Then he ran to the house. Phones in the shop and t in the house were not working, nor was his cell phone. A neighbor stopped by and Ken used his cell phone to call 9-1-1 for help.
The Rugby Volunteer Fire Department was called to respond to the structure fire approximately 3 miles north of Rugby at 8:52 a.m. on Friday, according to firefighter, Kevin Schepp. Seven units responded with 17 firemen assisting to control the scene.
Fire Chief Jerry Kurtyka was in Minot along with several other Rugby area firefighters attending some training at the time of the fire. Other firefighters remained in Rugby on call.
The firefighters were on the scene until approximately 3:05 p.m. Later that same day, at approximately 5:10 p.m., the fire department was called back to the scene to control multiple hot spots throughout the building. They remained on the premises until 9:20 p.m. Many neighbors and friends stayed most of the night helping clean up.
The Rugby Fire Department kept the fire from spreading to the Hooker's home.
"We can't thank them enough for all that they did," said Pam.
In fact, the Hookers appreciate everything done for them.
"At the St. Paul Burn Center, they told us that the paramedics at the scene and HAMC hospital did everything right," said Pam. "They told us we had good medical care in Rugby."
The medical personnel on the plane called Pam a couple of times on her way to St. Paul to keep her informed of her husband's condition.
"We'll rebuild," said Pam. "We'll be back, just give him a couple weeks to recover."