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Detroit firefighter back on the job after being severely burned fighting abandoned house fire

Mark Taylor suffered burns on more than 60 percent of his body

DETROIT – Doctors will say some of the most painful recoveries come in the burn unit.

A Detroit firefighter just lived through a recovery and he has a unique perspective. He’s in charge of the department’s clown team that works to cheer up child burn victims.

READ: Detroit firefighters need surgery after level of burning vacant house collapsed

Firefighter Mark Taylor went inside a burning vacant home to see if there was anybody inside and that’s when the roof collapsed on him. His partner was in the house too.

Two stories of burning roof buried Taylor and his partner. Their fellow firefighters broke out chainsaws and sounded the alarm.

Taylor couldn’t move and flames burned more than 60 percent of his body.

“It didn’t feel like that was the end. I had to wonder if that was it? Is this what death is gonna feel like for me?" He said.

Taylor spent three weeks in the receiving hospital burn unit. As the year wore on, the firefighter who cheered up young burn patients found himself wanting to cheer up deeply worried family and friends.

“There was a lot of dark days when I felt really bad and I didn’t have to smile and didn’t want to tell them everything was going to be OK,” he said. So, to push through that and express to everyone -- so they’d believe me, I was going to be alright. Some of those days were really tough."

Taylor is back on the job. He’s training five hours a day trying to get back into shape and go full time on the job, which could take months.

He is looking forward to Thanksgiving Day, where he hopes to march in America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A 73-year-old man was charged with intentionally setting the fire.


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