LaGrange man burned in diesel fuel explosion home from Portland hospital

As a deliveryman wheels in goods, Al Highers (left) mans a cash register at Four Corners Variety and Redemption Center in LaGrange on Thursday, Nov. 17. Highers is brother-in-law to burn victim John Decesere.
As a deliveryman wheels in goods, Al Highers (left) mans a cash register at Four Corners Variety and Redemption Center in LaGrange on Thursday, Nov. 17. Highers is brother-in-law to burn victim John Decesere. Buy Photo
Posted Nov. 26, 2011, at 1:32 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 27, 2011, at 2:42 p.m.
Barbara Robinson listens as Al Highers prepares to end his day shift at Four Corners Variety and Redemption Center in LaGrange on Thursday, Nov. 17. Robinson came in as a volunteer to work a shift at the store so that Joanne Decesere could go visit her husband at a Portland hospital after he suffered severe burns in an accident earlier in the day.
Barbara Robinson listens as Al Highers prepares to end his day shift at Four Corners Variety and Redemption Center in LaGrange on Thursday, Nov. 17. Robinson came in as a volunteer to work a shift at the store so that Joanne Decesere could go visit her husband at a Portland hospital after he suffered severe burns in an accident earlier in the day. Buy Photo

LAGRANGE, Maine — A town variety store owner was home from a Portland hospital and resting Sunday after suffering severe burns in a diesel fuel explosion more than a week ago, family and friends said Sunday.

John Decesere, 60, of LaGrange, co-owner of Four Corners Variety store off Route 155, was released from Maine Medical Center on Saturday afternoon and was home at about 7 p.m., a store worker said.

“For him it is like, ‘OK, I am feeling much better. Get me out of here,’” Donna Highers said of her brother-in-law.

Decesere telephoned family on Saturday morning to say that doctors had agreed to release him and a family member is headed to Portland to bring him home, Highers said.

Several passers-by used coffee and jugs of water from within the store to douse the flames that inflicted first- and second-degree burns on the 60-year-old’s face, head, torso and arms during an attempt to burn away a stump from his store’s side yard on Nov. 17. One witness said Decesere told him the red plastic gasoline jug carried No. 2, or off-road, diesel fuel.

Decesere is up and walking, though slowly, and can shave himself. His doctors said he must be able to change his bandages without need of pain medications before they will let him go home, Highers said.

Meanwhile friends and residents of this tiny northern Penobscot County town are collecting money and planning fundraisers for the Deceseres, who lack health insurance.

They have no idea how high his medical expenses will rise, they said. Described by residents as hardworking people who have improved the store extensively since assuming ownership four years ago, the Deceseres couldn’t afford medical insurance, Joanne Decesere has said.

Highers has established a bank account at Camden National Bank, care of P.O. Box 188, Milo 04463, for donations in care of John Decesere, and a local woman is planning a fundraiser supper for sometime after Thanksgiving, Highers said.

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