Teen burned in Dinwiddie High School fire comes home from hospital

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 11:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two weeks after a chemistry demonstration went bad and caused a fire inside Dinwiddie High School, the last student being treated for their burns at the hospital has returned home.

17-year-old Jey Bryant sat in the front of the class when an experiment ended in a flame shooting out and burning several students and the teacher.

“I’ve been a cop for 24 years, and I’ve seen some bad things, but until you see it happen to your own family,” Chris Bryant, Jey’s dad, said when he got the call, his son was hurt. “I kinda stopped and froze for a minute.”

That day, Chris said he received a second call just minutes later and knew things had gone from bad to worse.

“He [the caller] said I just wanted to let you know that they are letting MedFlight on the practice field, and I said, ‘huh,’” Chris explained.

Chris said once he got to the school, he saw his son for a split second before he was flown by helicopter to VCU Medical Center.

“You could see that Jey was burnt on the hands and from the neck up,” Chris said. “There was like skin off in especially this area of Jey’s face.”

Jey was taken to the Burn Unit, where his injuries began to swell up, and the real pain began.

“Day two, day three, day four, Jey’s burns kept getting more and more swollen,” Chris said. “I think it was day three. They did their first cleaning and scrubbing and skin graph, and that was the first time I got to see Jey’s face, and I didn’t even recognize Jey because the swelling was that bad.”

After about a week, Chris said the swelling started to go down, and they were able to remove the tube in his mouth.

On Wednesday, he was finally able to return home and progress the family attributes from all the community’s support.

“The whole thing has been humbling, and I truly believe that’s why Jey is still home today and not in the hospital because everything I showed Jey, I said look, these are all the people that love you and want to see you doing well, and it was literally like a switch,” Chris said. “It just went from the very lowest of lows to come on, let’s get it done.”

One Facebook fundraiser started by a family friend has raised over $10,000 as of Wednesday for Jey and his family’s recovery.

Luca Restaurant and Morelia’s Mexican Restaurant, both in Prince George County, will also be holding an all-day fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 29. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Jey’s family to help with medical costs.

Jey was not available to go on camera at the time of this story but did provide this statement:

Chris said his family has not made contact with the teacher in charge of the demonstration that day.

He said his son will likely return to school virtually before returning in person.