GULFPORT — A man who suffered burns over 30 percent of his body from a grease fire earlier this month has died.
Dan Fisher, 52, was burned as he carried a flaming pot of grease outside after a fire broke out on his stove the night of March 8.
He was taken to Tampa General Hospital's burn ward, where he died five days later.
Fisher's family didn't know about the fire until his landlord contacted members a few days after the incident. It was unclear Tuesday why no one contacted the family sooner.
Fisher had been alone in the hospital before his brother, sister, three children and other family members — all of whom are scattered around the country — flew to Tampa to be with him.
"I'm sure the hospital staff was shocked to see all of us there (last) Tuesday night," said Diana Chase, sister of Fisher's ex-wife, who lives in Port Richey. "Poor Dan had been sitting there for three days with no family."
Doctors said that infections from the burns were causing his kidneys to fail. His lungs filled with fluid, lowering his chances of survival, Chase said. Family members decided to take him off of life support. He died shortly after.
Fisher used to sell shoes at John's Pass and was about to open his own shoe store with a partner, Chase said. Originally from Minnesota, he moved to Florida in 2001 with his then-wife, and has worked various jobs in the Tampa Bay area.
Fisher is survived by his children: 21-year-old Michael, 23-year-old Ashley and 24-year-old Rachelle. He was also close with his sister, Marilyn, and brother, Rob, both of Minnesota.
He loved grilling and cooking French fries, which is what Fisher's children think he may have been doing when the fire started.
There was evidence he might have tried to put out the blaze with an extinguisher before running out with the pot, Chase said.
St. Petersburg Fire-Rescue Lt. Joel Granata said the best thing to do with a grease fire is to turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and call 911. Water or other liquids could actually make the burning grease splatter or explode, causing a much greater problem than the original fire.
Emily Nipps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8452.