WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wake Forest teenager has burns across more than half of his body after an incident involving fire and a spray paint can. As he recovers, his family has a warning for others.
Mason Dark is a sophomore at Heritage High School and plays on the football team. But right now, he’s in the Burn Unit at UNC Hospital and will likely be there for months, the family said.
His mom, Holli Dark, describes her son as a fun-loving kid who will try anything.
“He’s the most daring, wild, free spirit,” she said.
He was out with his friends Sunday on a Wake Forest greenway when his mom said she got an alarming phone call.
“One of the kids called and said there was an accident, something with spray paint, and Mason is burned,” she said.
As emergency crews rushed Mason to the hospital, his family was able to piece together what happened.
“They had a fire, and I guess they’re always throwing stuff in the fire and burning things,” Holli Dark said. “Mason had a can of spray paint…shooting the spray paint to make it even bigger, and it burst and blew up.”
She said the family later learned Mason has burns to more than half of his body and will likely be in the hospital for 3-4 months.
“He doesn’t know what’s going on right now, the severity of how bad this is, and I think that’s the part that’s so hard,” she said.
She also said it’s hard to keep kids safe in a world where social media videos make dangerous activities look cool.
“So many of these kids are doing this with the spray paint,” Holli Dark said. “Because you see and watch people do it, and nothing happens to them, why would it happen to me?”
Now, Mason’s family hopes other teens will see how serious the consequences can be.
“These are the things that can happen,” Holli Dark said. “We’re not trying to be mean, we’re not trying to not let you guys have fun, but this is the danger. This is going to change his life.”
As Mason recovers, he has a supportive family and community by his side. A GoFundMe for the family raised more than $6,500 in less than one day.
“Everybody from the school, people reaching out all over, that we don’t even know, to say they support us,” Holli Dark said. “He will get through it. He’s stubborn, feisty and he is a fighter.”