Fred’s Story

Site created on October 16, 2019

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

We would like to reach out and say a heartfelt thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers, texts following Dad and Electra's tragic accident. We feel the love and support and it is helping the family get through this tragic time.  We are heartbroken, lost and devastated. Dad and Electra were on their second trip this season to try to capture pictures of the Aspen tree leaves changing  in Pagosa Springs....They absolutely love spending time in Colorado. Unfortunately, there was a suspected gas leak at their home which resulted in a tragic explosion and fire. We can never extend enough gratitude and thanks to the courageous first responders and neighbors that arrived at the scene immediately and saved Dad's life. We will forever be in awe of their courageous efforts, their selfless nature and their genuine desire to help those in needs.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.  As most of you know, despite extreme efforts, precious Electra did not survive the accident. 

We are all devastated beyond belief at the loss of sweet Electra.  She was such a kind spirit that lived life to the fullest.  She was such a huge part of our family and a loving friend to all.  She was a bright spot in any room and she never met a stranger.  She had a giving heart and was so selfless. All of the grandkids loved "EJ" so much and always enjoyed her cheerful and light spirit.  As most of you know she was an avid athlete, she and dad loved to ride their bikes everyday and do just about anything outside.  She loved her animals dearly including Leonard, Lowla, and her adopted family of raccoons and foxes at their house on the lake. She and dad were together for 25 years and they were a perfect pair and loved each other beyond belief. She was loved dearly by her family and friends and will be missed terribly. 

Dad was airlifted to a burn center in Denver, Colorado which we believe is that absolute best place for him to be right now. He is critically ill but stable right now. The nature of his condition is something that varies day to day, while one day it may be positive the next we may experience expected setbacks.  Dad experienced burns over 50% of his body. Amazingly, dad did not suffer any neurological or internal injuries, which is absolutely incredible.....We have told them that dad is not your typical 72 year old which I think is going to help him through this process. He is undergoing the first of many surgeries in this initial week. He remains on the ventilator but you know Dad ,he is breathing over it when given the chance. Due to the extent of his burns, his kidneys took a hit which is not entirely unexpected, however he is on continuous dialysis right now and we expect this is something temporary that can be weaned over the coming weeks.   Over the course of this week he has been to the operating room 3 times to begin the long process to help with healing his burns. Each surgery is tough on him and we experience post-operative lows and setbacks each time but he is hanging in there. He remains sedated on Versed with Fentanyl for pain, so he is resting comfortably. We do feel like he can hear our voice based on shaking his head at times or opening his eyes occasionally. He has an excellent team of Doctors and nurses caring for him and we truly feel like he is receiving the best care possible. We are beyond thankful for what they are doing for him. 

According to the investigators, this is an absolute miracle that Dad survived the impact and explosion.  For all of you that know him and his love for life, you know he is a fighter and that he will come out on the other side with as much strength and will to live as always.  Dad has always given so much to others and has such a love for his friends, family, office staff and those in need.  He has 5 children who love him more than anything in the world and will be by his side for the duration. We are so proud of him and all of the hurdles he has already overcome.  He is our joy and our heart.  At this time  Dad's recovery process is going to be long, at least 3 months inpatient,  and difficult and we would love for you to share stories with us about Electra, Dad, their lives or the impact that either has had on you so we can share these with him.  We appreciate the outpouring love and support and please continue with the prayers. They are felt and they are appreciated so much. Sending love and thanks. We will continue to keep you updated. 

Much Love, 
The Phillips Family

Newest Update

Journal entry by Alexa Phillips

Hey everyone. You have all been such amazing and loyal supporters of dad through this journey that we wanted to share your kind words with him. He was overwhelmed by your kindness. He wanted me to pass this along to you all. 

Hello everyone, 
Well... I finally made it home.  I am back at work, driving a car, and doing a little flying here and there.  The recovery that i have experienced has been nothing short of miraculous: at least six months ahead of anyone’s prediction.  I credit a great deal of my recovery to God, my family, Electra, and all of you who have prayed for my recovery. I also cannot say anything but high praise for Swedish Hospital in Denver, Colorado. My battle is not over but i am well on my way.  Your comments (which i was unable to read until recently) are so incredibly moving. To know that so many people care gives rise to the burning (bad choice of words) question of how I can use my experience to help others understand that there is no end to the determination that we all are capable of.  After the explosion, I just kept climbing through the debris; the burning logs and choking smoke were seemingly impossible to penetrate.  Somehow...with the help of neighbors and strangers (now friends) who cared and were willing to risk their own lives to save mine...I made it out. I’m alive and I am so grateful for the life I have been granted. Sadly electra was unable to escape the flames nor did Lowla, our Dachshund.  Electra’s tenacious and loving spirit was there with me every day throughout my recovery... her love has kept me going. I am broken hearted by their loss and i hope someday I will be more capable of moving on and accepting what is now my new normal. 
So, to all of my friends who followed me through my wonderful daughters, Alexa and Sue...all I can say is thank you.  I hope to see each and every one of you and thank you in person. 
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