Community rallies to help father and son burned in accident

NEW FRANKLIN, Ohio-- Mason Morris is described as an outgoing 12-year-old, a standout seventh grade wrestler, adventurer, and someone who easily makes friends.

He's also close to his father, Aaron, a self-employed carpenter and contractor.

Aaron says on July 12, he and his son were outdoors enjoying beautiful weather when he decided to try and kill stubborn weeds using a small amount of old gasoline he had in his garage.

"I went and filled up a little measuring cup full of gas with maybe a cup of gas in it, maybe less, not a lot, and I was just pouring it on each weed down the center on the roots and lighting them, so we are talking little round flames that are six to eight inches tall not huge big flames," said Aaron.

He says Mason insisted on helping, so he allowed the boy to pour gasoline from the cup onto the weeds, but lit it himself.

"I was lighting one and out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of gas and that cup must have catched on fire; I don't know how but that cup caught on fire probably from the fumes."

"What I remember next was him jumping up and jumping back and he poured it, more so spilled it down the front of him, and he literally went up in flames. In seconds it was a blink of the eye; he was in a ball of flames," said Aaron.

Aaron says he froze for a second, and realized his son wanted to try to drop and roll to put out the flames.

"I chased him down. He started to try to do the stop, drop, and roll and me knowing that it was fuel that it was never going to go out, so I more so just grabbed him and just kept ripping away at his clothes one piece at a time; every time I get a piece off I reached back in and kept grabbing, and then grabbing, and grabbing until I got all of his clothes off," said Aaron.

In that instant Mason suffered burns over 80-percent of his body. Aaron suffered burns on both of his arms.

Both were admitted to the burn unit at Akron Children's Hospital where Mason has undergone three surgeries in just three days.

Throughout the difficult journey, Aaron's wife, who is Mason's mother Missy, has been by his side virtually around the clock.

"What he is going through is a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of moments of why did this happen? A lot of moments of 'I love you mom and dad,' a lot of moments of just crying for no reason and then you get that side of Mason, the kid that he is, I don't know if it's the medicine but he will get to his normal, just joking self and telling jokes and being Mr. funny guy so when those moments come out that's the part that reaches you the most and really hits home," said Aaron.

In response to what the family is enduring the community has mounted an overwhelming effort to try and give Aaron the chance to remain by his son's side even as his own burns heal.

Game Day Sportswear in Manchester has printed T-shirts with the proceeds going to help the family.

The Manchester Tavern is holding 50/50 raffles each Wednesday to raise funds.

A GoFundMe page has been started and the King Sportsman Tavern is organizing an emergency poker run to help contribute.

King Sportsman owner Pearl Sherman, whose grandson wrestled with Mason, says she has had poker runs to raise money for veterans and for the Children's Hospital Burn Unit in the past but she expects this to be the largest she has ever had.

"This way they don't have to worry about the house payment, that electric bill, that phone bill; this kind of money that's coming in will pay for that. I would say it's citizens that care to me and knowing that could happen to you, knowing that could be your child, your grandchild, a niece and nephew, anybody," said Sherman.

Additional contributions are being collected at Rocky's gas station in Barberton, Duma's Meats in Mogadore and are being collected by Manchester Youth Wrestling and the Manchester Take Down Club.

"As of right now my situation and I look back and see everything everyone has done for us and is getting ready to do for us the only thing I can ask for more than anything right now is just prayers for Mason," said his father.

"I feel we are going to be okay. I know Mason is going to be okay; it's just going to be a long road to get him back to who he is, but he will get there. He's a strong kid."

**More on a benefit for Mason hosted by Bolivar Sportsman Club**