Shelton family is taking it “one day at a time” as their son begins his road to recovery following an explosion in their garage last week that left him with serious burns on his face and body.
Joey Tremblay, 21, was planning to grab a few things out of his toolbox in his family’s Edgewood Avenue home garage in Shelton, when tragedy literally shook the neighborhood.
“We were told that the explosion was heard three towns away,” said Joey’s mother, Lisa Tremblay who was in bed with her youngest daughter before the explosion occurred.
“He was getting what he needed from his toolbox, and the next thing he saw was a ball of fire and winded up on the driveway,” said Lisa Tremblay. “When I heard the explosion I had no idea that it had come from our house, but I instantly jumped up, grabbed my phone to look out of the window… When I saw it came from our garage I was in disbelief but was immediately terrified when my husband told me that Joey had been inside … . We both ran out screaming.”
The blast sent Joey through the garage’s barn-style doors and into a disoriented state in the family’s driveway, according to his mother.
Lisa Tremblay said she and her husband couldn’t see Joey immediately due to the amount of flames and smoke, but after a few moments he was seen stumbling toward them.
“His jeans were almost ripped off of him, his shirt looked like he was in a war zone and he always wears a baseball cap, but it had clearly been blown off of his head,” said Lisa Tremblay. “I remember he was screaming to his dad to get him help because he could feel that he was badly burned.”
Joey’s father then carried him across the street and away from the flames where he laid in agony.
The investigation of what caused the explosion is ongoing.
The road to recovery begins
The Tremblay family said despite Joey’s injuries, they’re aware it could’ve been much worse.
“The location of the toolbox saved his life,” said Lisa Tremblay. “He was blown through the doors of the garage. Had he not been so close to them, he may not have made it out.”
Joey underwent a skin graft operation Monday afternoon as part of what appears to be the beginning of a lengthy recovery process. He suffered first-degree burns to his face and neck, as well as third-degree burns along his arms, hands and fingers.
“The doctors keep telling us that the only thing we can do is take it day-by-day,” said Lisa Tremblay. “It could be from eight months to a year until he’s back to how he was.”
Community support helps lighten the blow
Whether fixing his neighbor’s car, mowing the grass or managing landscaping, Joey’s girlfriend Courtney Sileo said he’s earned the reputation of always helping when he can.
“He’s the most kind-hearted person I know,” said Sileo.
Fortunately for the Tremblay family, in Joey’s time of need, his community answered.
Just days after Sileo created a GoFundMe page to help cover Joey’s medical expenses and tools that perished in the fire, people donated more than $3,600 toward a $15,000 goal.
“The turnout in the last two and a half days has been amazing,” said Lisa Tremblay. “We can never thank anyone enough for all of the love that they have given my son.”
Joey’s mother said it warms her heart to see the impact he’s had on so many people. She mentioned that even past elementary school teachers of the 21-year-old have reached out and donated.
“You have to live every single day to the fullest, cherish the people you love because I’ll tell you for 10 minutes I thought my son was gone and it was the worst feeling in the entire world,” said Lisa Tremblay.
“I am so overwhelmed at the number of people who showed love and support now that Joey needs their help,” said Sileo. “I pray to God everyday because I don’t know what I would’ve done if something worse would’ve happened to him.”
To donate to the Tremblay family visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-support-joe-tremblay