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Keys Melted to His Burned Body, He Thought Only of Her

Don Osteen credited with saving granddaughter in house explosion
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2019 9:50 AM CDT
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Don Osteen and his granddaughter Paetyn.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Don Osteen's granddaughter was the apple of his eye. It's no surprise, then, that family members say the Oklahoma veteran's last act was meant to save her. The 69-year-old Purple Heart recipient was having lunch with 3-year-old Paetyn when an explosion leveled his Seminole County home on Sept. 19, reports the New York Daily News. According to relatives, Osteen shielded Paetyn from flames, then carried her a quarter of a mile, despite a punctured lung, broken ribs, and third-degree burns over 78% of his body.

Osteen's truck keys "were melted to him" and "his phone was exploded in his pocket," his son tells KFOR. Still, "he just got out of the house and headed straight to where he knew help was." Osteen died Monday in surgery. Paetyn—who suffered burns to 30% of her body, per KFOR—is "healing beautifully," however, according to a GoFundMe page. It adds she has yet to learn her "hero" has died. Officials are still investigating the cause of the explosion, which reportedly occurred as Osteen lit a candle near a stove. A gas leak is suspected. (Read more explosion stories.)

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