Man who lit himself on fire had PTSD

Written for The Argus Observer, printed on June 17, 2015. 

The multiple burns that now cover Ramon Fry’s body are now on the mend, but his family says the 22-year-old Treasure Valley Community College student has a long way to go before he’s fully healed, both mentally and physically.

“[Fry] got off the ventilator yesterday and is breathing on his own,” said Susan Douglas, Fry’s grandmother. “He’s now having stress because of the mental anguish, that’s the biggest thing that they’re working on now.”

Fry suffered severe burns after his clothing was set on fire at the college courtyard in front of the Student Services Center just after noon on June 3.

According to a news release from the Ontario Police Chief Mark Alexander sent at the beginning of June, Ramon Fry, 22, from Garden Valley, “poured what appears to be gasoline upon himself and then lit the fuel with a lighter.”

College staff members saw Fry dash toward the courtyard fountain and called 911. Since that day Fry has been in the University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City.

According to Sulyn Plascencia, manager of the apartments where 22-year-old Ramon Fry lives, Fry is still in the Utah burn center. He has skin grafts on the back of his hands, his legs and his back.

Plascencia said that on Tuesday, Fry was able to stand and say a few words.

“[The fire] went down his back, the back of his thighs, [and the ] back of his calves,” Plascencia said. “The good thing about it is that he may be able to use his hands again.”

Fry plays seven instruments, according to Plascencia and is attending TVCC on a full music scholarship.

“I think he was going to perform when he left [for the college that morning].” Plascencia said. “I think it was a dress rehearsal.”

Douglas said the burn center’s team is “putting 100 percent” into Fry’s recovery, which is going to include much more than healing his skin.

“He’s struggling mentally because of the incident before this one,” Douglas said. “He had post traumatic stress disorder before, and burning also causes that and they have all that available there, real intensive stuff to treat that.”

Fry was the victim of an attempted murder in in 2012,when he was lured into an Ontario garage and shot once in the head and once in the back. Four people are serving time for their contributions to the plan to murder Fry, who was 19 at the time.

Just before he lit himself on fire, reports say Fry was seeking help for mental health issues, but it is unknown whether those were a contributing factor to the incident.

“We haven’t had time to investigate that as a family, we’re putting 100 percent into his health,” Douglas said, “but we’ll be pursuing what led up to it.”

Douglas said the family is thankful for the burn center and the care that Fry has received there, but it’s expensive and the family is anticipating medical bills will be adding up through the recovery process.

“We’ve set up The Ramon Fry Medical Fund with Wells Fargo,” Douglas said. “People can just go in there and say they want to donate to that fund.”

All of the money that goes into that fund will be used directly for medical bills.

“It’s taken a lot to get him to this point, and it’s going to be an ongoing medical thing,” Douglas said.


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