‘It was very horrifying’: 4th of July Peachtree Landing boat fire witness helps raise money for victims, family

Grand Strand

“I heard screaming. It was very horrifying to watch."

SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) — One Myrtle Beach woman has created a GoFundMe to help raise money for a Chicago family whose father and son were burned in a Fourth of July boat fire at Peachtree Landing.

News13 spoke to the Myrtle Beach native and the mother of the son who remains in the intensive care unit at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia.

Kayla Goodwin and her family and friends were at the boat landing July 4 when she says she heard the explosion and saw the boat go up in flames.

It was unlike anything Goodwin says she’d ever seen.

“I heard screaming. It was very horrifying to watch,” she said. “It brings me to tears to think about it.”

Goodwin saw the skin falling off of Mayra Zayago’s son, Aquiles, after he and his father Jose were on their boat when it suddenly exploded.

“When his dad turned the key on, it just caught on fire, and Aquiles was right next to the motor when it happened,” said Zayago.

Aquiles, his dad Jose, his uncle Arturo and his cousin were preparing to get on the boat after traveling from Chicago to spend the fourth along the Grand Strand.

“My husband automatically threw the truck into park. He jumped out of the truck and within literally two seconds, your mind has like a quick response to like register what’s going on,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin took out her phone and captured the traumatic moments on Facebook Live.

“He got like 50% of his body burned with second and third degrees. [On] his legs, his arms, and the right side of his face and his neck,” said Zayago.

But this isn’t the only thing Aquiles has had to overcome. He battled leukemia for three years at the age of seven.

“He said if we made it through leukemia, we’re going to make it through this,” said Zayago.

After the boat fire, Goodwin saw how many people were coming forward with prayers and she decided to create a GoFundMe to help raise money for Aquiles, Jose and their family.

Aquiles will spend another month in the burn center’s ICU before recovering fully, while Jose left the hospital Tuesday. Both will continue to have surgeries to recover.

For now though, Goodwin, Zayago and their families have become close.

“We talk everyday, and there’s a friendship that’s built from it, and I hope that once all of this is done and over with we can meet together,” Goodwin said with a smile.

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