ROCKFORD – A Sterling man still is in critical condition Sunday evening at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center after suffering burns from a gas line explosion last week, and his family continues to raise funds to offset his medical costs.
Two farmers were killed and two were injured Dec. 5 after hitting a natural gas transmission pipe while laying tile on a field northeast of the intersection of state Route 38 and Nachusa Road.
Father and son Rory Miller, 59, of Amboy, and Ryan Miller, 30, of Oregon died in the blaze.
Michael Koster, 20, was on a backhoe and suffered second- and third-degree burns on about 65 percent of his body while rolling on the ground to extinguish flames, according to posts on the fundraising site GoFundMe.
Kyler Ackland, 20, of West Brooklyn, was also injured but was treated and released.
Koster underwent surgery Dec. 9 to graft about 50 percent of his burns, mostly on his back and on one leg, and additional grafting surgery on his hands is scheduled to be performed Dec. 29 at the hospital, according to information posted Thursday on his CaringBridge page, written by his sister, Diane Koster Sedig.
Koster, who's been mostly unresponsive in the past few days, is taking pain medication, and his doctors are pleased with his healing process, according to the post.
His family has raised more than $34,500 toward medical bills through two GoFundMe accounts, and about half of it was raised in 2 days.