TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) — A charcoal grill explosion claimed the life of a Tarpon Springs man after he spent days fighting for his life.
The family identified their loved one as 79-year-old Drosos Tiliakos. He is a legendary bridge painter in Tarpon Springs, known for helping his Greek community.
Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue said the charcoal grill exploded at his home on Riverside Drive on Wednesday night.
“All I heard was oh my god fire,” said Niki Mavromatis, daughter.
Niki happened to be on the phone with her mom. Her mom was not hurt. However, fire crews said 85% of her father’s body was burned. Drosos was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition.
Friday, 8 On Your Side learned from his family that he has died from his injuries.
“My grandmother keeps saying I heard, almost like bombs and we didn’t hear until after the investigators came to tell us what happened that there was aerosol cans, and the explosion caused the fire, and my grandfather caught on fire,” said Athena Mavromatis, Tiliakos’ granddaughter.
A neighbor jumped into action and put out the fire with a garden hose before fire crews arrived.
“If it had not been for them my dad would not be here because he put the fire out on him and saved him,” said Niki.
“He’s an elderly man and all of these procedures that he’s going to undergo are going to be quite risky for him,” said Athena. “I’m asking all of Tampa Bay, and whoever is concerned about my grandfather to please pray for this very strong man.”
Athena’s twin sister, Dorssoulla, was named after their grandfather.
“I just asked for prayers and continuous support because he’s not just my hero but I know he did a lot for the community in Tarpon Springs and our lot for our island,” said Dorssoulla.
The family is asking for any local Eastern Orthodox priest to go to the hospital to pray and perform a sacrament.