Explosion victim dies in hospital; blood still needed

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February 14, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---40-year-old Michael Kelly Fields passed away this morning just after 2 o'clock. He had been in the hospital since the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion in Port Wentworth, Georgia, near Savannah.

Fields was being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital.

When we talked to Fields' family Friday, they told us that as rescue crews rushed to the scene of the fire, Fields went back inside the building to try and help save his coworkers.

With his death, that leaves 16 patients from the refinery explosion at the burn center, with 14 still in critical condition. There are 71 burn victims in all at the burn center and Doctors Hospital.

Blood is still needed, and will continue to be needed. The process of healing from burns is a long one, which in this case will last through March, April, and May, according to Linda Petersen at Shepeard Community Blood Center.

From Friday, February 8 through Wednesday, February 13, 1723 people had donated blood, resulting in 1373 good procedures and 1400 good units of blood. 278 of those people, or 16% of the total donors, had never donated before. Petersen says that's a high percentage.

There is a blood drive all day today in Aiken. It's being held at the Aiken Career Center across from Aiken Tech.

Georgia's US senators want a federal investigation into the refinery blast. Federal investigators are already there. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson say it's important to know how it happened to prevent similar accidents in the future.

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