George Haley was headed to his first day at a new job as a mechanic for a trucking company when his car broke down.
"He got someone to help him get the car home and when he went to look under the hood, it just exploded," said Haley's wife, Denise, as emergency technicians loaded her husband onto a helicopter bound for Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials say 43-year-old Haley suffered second-degree burns to his chest that could possibly affect his lungs.
Mrs. Haley said it will be three months before the health insurance included with her husband's new position at a trucking company in Okahumpka, south of Leesburg, kicks in.
"I guess we'll get stuck with the bill for all of this," she said, as the helicopter lifted off from a field near Chocachatti Elementary School, across from the couple's home on Schaffer Street.
"He just helped my husband fix our brakes the other day," said neighbor Tamara Shields as she prepared to drive Mrs. Haley to Tampa General Hospital, where her husband was flown for treatment. "He's just a really nice guy."