Denny’s fire attack victim shares memories of horrifying ordeal - KPTV - FOX 12

Denny’s fire attack victim shares memories of horrifying ordeal

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

He’s been fighting for his life for months, but now the 69-year-old who was randomly set on fire at a Happy Valley Denny’s is on the road to recovery.

“I’m very, very lucky because it could’ve been so much worse,” Scott Ranstrom said.

Ranstrom is getting long-term care at a facility in northeast Portland. While he still has a long recovery ahead of him, he felt well enough Friday to share some of his story, telling FOX 12 he is lucky to be alive.

“When I do think about it, I get very emotional,” he said.

Ranstrom was burned badly on his face, head and both hands in the attack on April 19. Investigators believe 24-year-old Deshaun Swanger sat in a booth next to him, doused him with gas and then set him on fire.

“I don’t hate him. I just don’t want him out in the public ever again,” Ranstrom said of his accused attacker. “That is a heinous type of thing to do. It’s not like robbing a store. It’s something that should never happen.”

The 69-year-old spent two months in a medically-induced coma and has also had several surgeries. He told FOX 12 that he unfortunately remembers everything that happened.

“I thought I heard a little rustling behind me, but I wasn’t sure because there wasn’t anybody else in the room,” he said, recalling that horrific night. “And then, all of a sudden, I feel wet and I realize it’s gasoline. And the next second it went ‘Fwooosh!’ and it was disastrous. I was squirming all over. I remember saying, ‘Why? What did I do?’”

Thankfully, another customer jumped in to help Ranstrom, using his jacket to help put out the flames.

“Thank God for him,” Ranstrom said.

After being released from the hospital two weeks ago, Ranstrom was brought to Vibra Specialty Hospital to receive long-term care. He added that he is healing well but still has a long way to go.

“The burning thing is an experience I would never want anybody to go through,” he explained. “No way.”

Currently, Ranstrom said he can barely use his hands and can’t walk but added he’s working on both and hopes to make a full recovery in a year.

“How do you tell somebody what it’s like to have your hair burning off what little you have, your skin is burning, you smell it,” he said. “You can’t describe that to somebody unless they had it.”

Currently, Ranstrom said he can barely use his hands and can’t walk but added he’s working on both and hopes to make a full recovery in a year. Ranstrom’s sisters started a GoFundMe campaign shortly after the attack as a way to help their brother.

Swanger was arrested following an extensive manhunt a day after the attack. He was charged with aggravated attempted murder and his next hearing is scheduled for October.

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