Barton fatal explosion survivor shares heartwarming update with nurses

Frankie Ridolfi survived a home explosion in Barton and rolled into a Milwaukee hospital off a Flight for Life helicopter. Doctors weren't sure he'd make it, but he pulled through thanks to his care team at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital.

Ridolfi was in Barton for EAA and to celebrate his dad's birthday when everything changed.

With a second chance at life, he takes nothing for granted.

Ridolfi finds healing in humor.

"I talked to myself, ‘Hey man, you used to skate by on your good looks. Now, you gotta rely on your wits and charm,’" he said.

Ridolfi was back at the hospital Thursday, Aug. 3 with the care team that saved his life.

"I want very badly for them to be able to feel all of the positive impacts, all the positive ripples that they helped to create," said Ridolfi.

He first came to the hospital two years ago with burns on 80% of his body.

"He did the most of the work, but I mean, it's just like, it feels pretty amazing," said Chelsea Schaefer, nurse.

Frankie Ridolfi 

Burn unit nurses like Schaefer could see then that Ridolfi was different.

"Even from Day 1, you could just tell," said Schaefer.

Schaefer would know. She's also a burn survivor.

"Took me like, a couple years to really figure it out, too," said Schaefer.

Burns from the explosion took the life of Ridolfi's father, Augie, but Thursday's return brought new life as Ridolfi shared that he and his fiancee, Noa, are expecting.

"We'll have another little girl, said Noa.

Barton house explosion

"That life, that generation and who knows how many generations are possible now?" said Ridolfi. "They're on their way because you guys were able to patch me together and help me survive."

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Thanking his care team, Ridolfi said he is looking forward to making more memories with those who matter most.

"Thank you for being so kind to me," said Ridolfi.

Ridolfi said Thursday just about all of his short-term pain is gone. He said he's just dealing with, in his words, the aches and pains of turning 50 as he prepares for fatherhood.