Family rallying behind Knoxville man with severe electrical burns as he undergoes surgeries

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee man is undergoing a number of surgeries at Vanderbilt over the coming days after suffering electrical burns while working at a downtown job site.

Brandon Smith’s family saying 40% of his upper body is burned.

Last Thursday afternoon, the Knoxville Fire Department was flagged down. Firefighters said Brandon Smith was part of a construction crew working on a building along Gay Street. We’re told he suffered electrical burns and was initially taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Smith’s father, John Smith, tells us his son was then airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and underwent his first surgery on Monday and is healing. He says his son’s chest, hands and neck are most severely injured.

“He was working on a panel that had 480 volts going to it. Something happened there and an arc flashed on him, and it burned him up pretty bad,” said Smith.

Loved ones tell us Brandon will have one more surgery, but doctors have told them that he will not need a skin graft for the burns on his face.

“They told us when we got there that he’d be there for a month and he’d have to have several surgeries, so just to have two surgeries made us feel a lot better. It’s not as worse as we thought,” said Smith.

Loved ones say it’s hard driving back and forth from Nashville to Knoxville, but they don’t want Brandon to be alone.

“He’s going to get good, he’s going to get better. The outlook is good, it just takes time,” said Smith.

Smith says his son will be receiving care and healing at Vanderbilt over the the next several weeks. Brandon’s second surgery is scheduled for next week.

How you can help

As a way to help Brandon’s growing family, his wife is expecting their second child in early August, a GoFundMe account has been created.

Family members are also collecting diapers, wipes, gas cards and other day-to-day items to help with the young family’s needs. If you would like to coordinate a drop-off, you can email John Smith at

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