JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a nightmare no parent wants to experience.
"My step mom called and she said there's been an accident, Austin's been in an accident I said were are we going?" Julie Parker said.
Her 17 year old son Kyle Austin Ely was airlifted to USA hospital in Mobile. The East Central high school football linebacker was in Citronelle, Alabama for a hunting trip.
"As far as I understand he was at the hunting camp and he was getting ready to build a fire in a barrel," she said.
Parker said that's when something went horribly wrong.
"He put what was suppose to be diesel in the container and it didn't light. So he put some more in there and evidently there was still some spark in it and it blew up," Parker said.
At the hospital, doctors told Parker Ely is suffering from second and third degree burns to his face, upper body and lungs.
"After I got here and seen how bad it is, I was an emotional wreck," said Parker.
But Sunday, things started looking up. Ely began responding to his family and doctors by nodding his head. Now the biggest challenge is preventing infection.
There is a huge out pour of support from Ely's community. The hashtag #ELYSTRONG is making its rounds on social media, and East Central high's football booster club is collecting donations for the family.
"It's warming and comforting and excited knowing that his family at home love him that much," Parker said.
Parker asks that you not donate to any of the GoFund me accounts set up online. Instead, they have an account set up through M&M Bank that will go directly to the family. If you'd like to donate, just ask for the "Austin Ely Benefit Account" (account number 14 1005472).