DOBBIN, Texas - A massive explosion two months ago killed two women, turned a house into a pile of debris, and left Wyatt Mock Smith severely burned and trapped under it all. But Wyatt survived, and he's only nine months old.
"He's definitely a miracle," said Amber Smith, a family friend. "I think all the families involved look at Wyatt as something they can hold onto."
The explosion happened June 11 at Wyatt's grandmother's home in Dobbin, a small community in west Montgomery County.
Grandmother Jan Mock and her sister-in-law Lena Knight were getting ready to cook lunch.
Montgomery County fire investigators said a stove ignited a plume of propane gas that had accumulated under the home. Investigators said Friday they're still trying to determine what caused the gas leak.
After the explosion rocked the neighborhood, nearby workers and neighbors ran to the burning scene. They heard the injured women screaming about a baby being inside the destroyed home. Wyatt was found under the burning debris.
"His eyes had dirt and blood all in them," said neighbor Morgan Heintz. "His whole body was just burnt."
Mock and Knight were airlifted to hospitals at Texas Medical Center, but days later both women died from their injuries. Wyatt was flown to Shriner's Hospital for Children in Galveston.
"When he came in, he had a blast type of injury," said Dr. Carlos Jimenez, a burn specialist and surgeon at Shriner's. "Not only did he have burns, but he was blasted away."
Jimenez said Wyatt had a head and brain injury, several cuts, and second degree burns covered more than 50 percent of his body.
"We've seen patients in similar scenarios who don't make it," Jimenez said.
But Wyatt was a fighter. Inside Shriner's, doctors and nurses treated his burns. They tried to ease the pain and avoid infection. Amazingly, Wyatt didn't need surgery or skin grafts.
A month later, doctors released Wyatt, but said he still has a long recovery ahead. Doctors said the biggest concern is the little boy will have to endure the painful process of growing into his own burned skin.
"He will be within our care until he's 21 years old," said Jimenez. "So, we have the future to tell us what his surgical needs will be."
From the beginning, a growing group across Houston has helped Wyatt and his family through donations and prayers. A Facebook page called "Mercy for the Mocks" has grown to more than 5,000 members.
Amber Smith said more help is needed not only to help pay for Wyatt's continuous medical care, but to help cover the costs of two funerals.
Smith's group is selling support bracelets to raise money. They're also organizing a huge community-wide benefit and auction Sunday in Montgomery to raise even more.
"Every auction item is donated," Smith said. "We haven't paid for anything. The whole community has come together."
The "Mercy for the Mocks" barbecue and music is Sunday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Lone Star Community Center at 2500 Lone Star Parkway in Montgomery. The event features live music, children's games, a raffle, a silent auction and a live auction beginning at 3 p.m.
For more information or to make a donation, call 936-494-5382.
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