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Published May 27, 2009, 05:30 PM

House explosion victim heads home

Beulah, ND (WDAY TV) - Doctors said he had "less" than a 1 percent chance of surviving, but today Hal Nelson is headed home. More than 7 months after burning about 70 percent of his body in a house explosion, the Rutland man is in the care of family in Beulah. WDAY 6 Reporter Kelsey Soby joins us live with his story.

By: Kelsey Soby, WDAY

Beulah, ND (WDAY TV) - Doctors said he had "less" than a 1 percent chance of surviving, but today Hal Nelson is headed home. More than 7 months after burning about 70 percent of his body in a house explosion, the Rutland man is in the care of family in Beulah.

WDAY 6 Reporter Kelsey Soby joins us live with his story.

The likelihood of a burn victim not surviving is usually calculated by adding a person's age to the percent of their body burned. This afternoon I saw a 53-year old man walk that statistics show had more than a one hundred percent chance of not even being here today.

From the start, doctors doubted Hal would pull through his traumatic experience.

“I recall the explosion and trying to get out of house.”

Four different times, since he escaped this wreckage back in October, Hal’s family was told he was dying.

“Lots of tears shed, lots, we would just sit together praying.”

But now, after 7 months in the hospital, almost four of those spent in a medically induced coma, Hal is not only alive, but also making great progress.

“Both doctors and nurses think I’m some kind of a miracle.”

He's making plans for a future most thought he'd never see.

“Feel pretty good, but also scared some things I think I will never be able to do it again.”

Hal says he's getting used to the protective gear and 6 hours a day of therapy, but looking forward to trading a hospital bed for a room at his sisters where he can spend time with his niece and 15 month old great niece.

“She would get his picture and kiss it. We re-arranged the pictures thinking she just picked that particular picture because of where it was sitting. The next time she went and found the picture again. We thought that was god telling us Hal was going to make it.”

Hal still needs constant monitoring to make sure he doesn't get infections, or fall and damage his fragile skin. Lori says she's a little nervous about caring for him, but glad he is ready to get back to living.

“Sometimes it's overwhelming, but other times it feels really good.”

“I’m looking forward to when he leaves, not that we want him to leave, but we want him to be that well.”

Hal says he's more thankful now for the big things in life which he says are family, friends and health, but he says he's also looking forward to doing some of the simple things, someday, again, on his own.

“I love fishing, and the day I can cast out a fishing line and reel it in, that will be a great day.”

Hal still needs help doing things like preparing meals, showering and getting dressed and will continue seeing a doctor every 3 days. Lori's not sure how long Hal will need full-time assistance; she says doctors aren't even sure because Hal continues to change the odds.

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