The tow truck driver who suffered third degrees burns over 80% of his body from the July 18 midtown steam pipe explosion is leaving the hospital today. Gregory McCullough, who attended classes at John Jay College and studied karate when not working, was in his vehicle with a passenger, waiting for a light to turn, when the steam pipe exploded underneath them. He spoke to the NY Times about his experiences.
In one word, McCullough is incredible. He described how he and passenger Judith Bailey huddled together as "hot smoke and steam began pouring into the truck from the vents and floorboard" before they jumped out of the truck. He also cried for help, but some people "shuddered and recoiled at the sight of his badly melted skin" (one person did help him). After weeks in a medically-induced coma for weeks, McCullough woke up last month. He said:
"I woke up and I started to cry. I didn’t understand. Why me? I did everything I was supposed to do. I was making a living and going to school. I didn’t deserve this. I didn’t deserve all of this pain. I didn’t deserve any of this."
The article also describes McCullough's injuries and though doctors did not need to amputate his leg or arm, he has many years of rehab ahead of him. McCullough is thankful that he is alive "But to see the pain my family has gone through, to see my dad cry, that hurts the most.”
His family filed a lawsuit against Con Ed. Con Ed, in turn, may end up suing the city.
Photograph of the red tow truck by sidewalk_story on Flickr