ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — A 27-year-old New Jersey man survived getting set on fire while he slept. He was so severely burned, that doctors couldn’t treat him in Atlantic City, so he was rushed to Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.
Nearly two months later, he’s recovering at home.
“When they lit me on fire, all the people that were there were standing around like it was some sort of show,” Ray Mullen said.
Everyone just watched, Mullen said, when he woke up on a so-called friend’s couch engulfed in flames.
“I ran outside and as I was running outside, Dave and this kid, Brandon, were there and they started pouring lighter fluid on me as I was running out of the house,” Mullen said.
After Mullen stopped, dropped and rolled, he drove himself 30 minutes back to Brigantine, New Jersey, where his mother rushed him to the hospital on March 15.
“My son was just screaming and crying in excruciating pain and they were setting him up to IVs and they were getting all these ice packs all over his back. You could see the skin just peeling off his back,” his mother, Debbie, said.
30% of Mullen’s body suffered third-degree burns.
“I thought they were my friends. Before, I used to go dirt bike riding with them,” Mullen said.
Mullen says they’re not his friends anymore and still doesn’t understand why they set him on fire. David Sult and Brandon Perez were both arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated assault and second-degree aggravated arson.
“I thought they were trying to kill me, that’s why I left there. I was in such a hurry, I didn’t even want to wait for an ambulance,” Mullen said.
As life looks much different for Mullen now, doctors are hoping he’ll make a full recovery in six months to a year.
Both Ray and Debbie are out of work right now. As Ray works toward a full recovery, they have a GoFundMe account set up.