A roofer who slipped into a vat of hot tar is in an induced coma and faces months of surgeries and rehabilitation, his son says.
“He’s barely hanging on,” said Aaron Madden of his father, Daniel Madden.
The elder Madden, 66, is in critical condition in the burn unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. He suffered third-degree burns from his waist up after falling into the tar on the afternoon of Aug. 6 at a worksite in University City.
Aaron Madden, 40, said his father has been a roofer for more than four decades. Dan Madden, of Overland, specializes in covering flat roofs with tar. As part of the business, he owns a four-wheeled, propane-fired tar kettle with a 450-gallon capacity that keeps the tar at nearly 600 degrees.
Aaron Madden said they were working on a one-story flat roof of a commercial building in the 7900 block of Olive Street. The father had been mopping tar on the roof and moved to throw some debris onto the ground. But he slipped on the edge near the gutter and fell toward the kettle.
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“He tried to land on the metal top, but his foot slipped and he went in a sitting backward position into the tar,” the son said. “He was covered in it except for one leg.”
He and a co-worker pulled Dan Madden out of the kettle and doused him with water. Aaron Madden said paramedics for Gateway Ambulance cut away Dan Madden’s clothes before they rushed him to Mercy.
University City firefighters assisted on the scene, said Chief Adam Long.
Aaron Madden, of Breckenridge Hills, has his own small roofing company but often works with his father. The son also is a member of Bricklayers Local 1.
Aaron Madden said he was a young boy when he was burned during a fire at the family home in Breckenridge Hills and was treated at Mercy, then known as St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.
“It’s a strange fate to be standing there with him just like he did for me,” Aaron Madden said. “We’re in the same place, but in different shoes.”
He said he believed contractor insurance would cover part of his father’s care. Patricia King, Dan Madden’s wife, set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the medical bills.
Aaron Madden said doctors have said that, if his father recovers, he will probably be in the hospital until at least Christmas.