San Diego

Neighbors Step Up to Help Family of Man Severely Injured in Halloween Mishap

A San Carlos neighborhood is coming to the aid of a family whose life was turned upside down after a tragic mishap involving a jack-o’-lantern on Halloween night.

First responders rushed to the Willis family home on Clear Sky Terrace last Thursday to find Sean Willis badly burned after his costume caught fire in the garage.

Willis is always festive, neighbor Vince Storniolo said. He decorates the house and dresses up in his usual costume: a ghillie suit, a camouflage-type body suit usually covered in leaves or straw.

But this time, the lit jack-o’-lantern Willis was holding ignited his costume, according to police. The neighborhood kids saw it happening and used garden hoses to put out the flames.

"They turned the corner and saw it all in flames and everything and that's when they bolted into action," said Storniolo.

Willis suffered 2nd and 3rd-degree burns allover his body, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Rick Ballard. The fire was contained to the garage, but damaged the home and displaced the family.

Now Storniolo is housing the family until they get back on their feet.

"If it ever came to that point, I would definitely want something like that to be done to me," said Storniolo.

The Willis family wants to warn people to be aware of how dangerous these types of costumes can be.

According to the family’s GoFundMe page, Willis will be in a coma for weeks and in the hospital for months to come.

Contact Us