Men critically injured after fire mishaps still in hospital

Two men critically injured in separate incidents while using accelerants to burn yard debris in February remain hospitalized in Portland.

The condition of Robert Jacoby, 24, of Shady Cove, has been upgraded from critical to good, according to hospital personnel at the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

Home alone when he attempted to light a pile of sticks, twigs and leaves outside his home, Jacoby suffered second- and third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body when he used gasoline to ignite the debris pile on Feb. 5, said Bob Miller, chief of Jackson County Fire District No. 4.

Jacoby, an independent contractor, managed to make the 9-1-1 call himself on a cell phone after the accident occurred. After dousing the flames, Jacoby tried to cool himself by getting into the shower before firefighters arrived at the Sarma Drive home to find him conscious but in severe pain.

Neighbors have reported hearing Jacoby's gas can exploding, said Jacoby's aunt, Jacqui Arnatt-Mejia.

After weeks on a ventilator, her nephew is doing well after enduring six painful skin-grafting surgeries, Arnatt-Mejia said.

"His pain level is pretty high right now. But he's doing really good," she said, adding Jacoby's most recent surgery was on Friday.

Randy Young, 55, was also burned in a gas-related fire earlier in the month. He remains in critical condition at the Portland hospital, a spokeswoman said.

Young attempted to start a fire on Feb. 13 in the yard of his house on the 1700 block of Meadows Lane, Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said. When it wouldn't ignite, Young tossed gasoline on it but dropped the gas can during the ignition, splashing himself with gasoline that quickly ignited, Hansen said.

Young tried to roll on the ground and his wife, Annette Young, attempted to quell the flames with a porch mat, Hansen said. Eventually, Young jumped into his hot tub to put out the fire, Hansen said.

Young, a self-employed counselor, suffered second-degree burns over about 45 percent of his body, including his hands, face, chest and upper legs.

Living Water Counseling is collecting donations to help Young's family while he recovers. Visit the counseling service's Web site at and click on the "Donation Form" box.

Donations for Robert Jacoby and his family may be made to PremierWest Bank, P.O. Box 590, Eagle Point, OR 97527. Make checks to "for benefit of Robert Jacoby."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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