Restaurant Owner Recovers After Severe Grease Burns

By KBJR News 1

August 8, 2012 Updated Aug 8, 2012 at 12:30 AM CDT

Superior, WI ( Northland's NewsCenter) --- A little over a month ago, the owner of the A&W Restaurant in Superior sustained burns from the waist down during an accident at work.

Now, the community is coming together to help her along the long road to recovery.

On a "Coney Tuesday" around 3:30 p.m., Avis Phelps, tripped over a bucket of burning hot grease just removed from the fryer.

"You just hear these screams; everybody looked back at the kitchen in just total complete shock," Jake Kaufman, a Manager said.

"I know I was screaming in pain," Phelps said. "I really had something in my head telling me I had to get up. I had to get up off the floor."

With the help of co-workers, Phelps used cold running water to alleviate the pain.

"I just needed relief, I didn't know what else to do," Phelps said. " I just felt like I had to get something cold on them. I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing because I was watching my skin fall, around my ankles. "

Phelps doesn't have workers comp or insurance on herself.

She's been in and out of the hospital and has had four skin grafts to treat her 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

"I'm going to be back, maybe even running someday," Phelps said. "I don't know, and if not, I'll adapt to it."

While Phelps takes her recovery day by day, some changes have been made in the restaurant to make sure accidents like this don't happen.

"We are doing our fryers like during the rush or during the day times," Brian Rink said.

"It's not worth trying to rush and get it done in between customers," Phelps said. "We wait now until the end of the night."

A spaghetti dinner benefit and silent auction will be held this Sunday from 2-7 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Superior.

Jennifer Walch
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