Wednesday, 16 March 2022 11:16

CIF Urges Support for Tech Burned in Shop Accident 

Written by Joel Gausten


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The Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) is urging members of the auto body field to do all they can to help Bryan Miller, an Ohio-based technician and painter who is recovering from a devastating in-shop accident that burned more than 70% of his body and nearly ended his life.

Last September, Miller was working on a motorcycle at Elite Auto Body, Cycle and Sales in Bethel, OH, when it backfired and triggered a chain reaction that resulted in the shop going up in flames. Trapped inside his work area for several minutes, he caught on fire before forcing his way through a window. Once outside, he watched the building burn as his body was overcome by the agonizing trauma.


“The only way I could keep myself from passing out was to scream,” he recalled.


Thankfully, a man and woman on a motorcycle soon spotted him and stopped to offer assistance. As Miller remembers, it took 30 minutes for medical personnel to arrive on the scene and another 30 minutes for a helicopter to arrive to transport him to the hospital. He remained conscious the entire time.


Miller’s experience caught the attention of CIF, which has been working hard to bring him a sense of hope and encouragement during this difficult time. At a recent Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Phoenix, the 150-plus industry leaders in attendance did a virtual shout-out to Miller to show him their support.


Although he survived the event, Miller was left with mostly third-degree burns covering the majority of his body. He also endured a near-fatal case of pneumonia while in the hospital. Six months and multiple surgeries and skin grafts later, he lives in constant pain he describes as “background noise that’s normal.” Lotion needs to be applied to his body on a constant basis to keep his scars moist.


“I have to wake up and basically stretch myself back to some kind of normal mobility," he said. "I get tight again every night; it’s like wearing a shirt that’s too small for you.”


After leaving the hospital, Miller received constant care from his fiancée, Kassi Nellet, who spent five hours a day changing his dressings. Unfortunately...

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