PEI News: Summerside Fire survivor shares his story


Nate Lykow is a pretty ordinary guy. A father, a husband, but in September last year he faced extraordinary circumstances.

A kitchen fire almost cost him his life. He fought his way through thick smoke, got caught in a chair and burned.

“For a second I thought, 'I can't do this,' and then I just thought of him,” he said, pointing to his young son. “So I took off, took half a second to unhook my foot and then crawled outside.”

The fire destroyed his home and left him with severe burns on a quarter of his body.

A photo of the damage caused by the kitchen fire in the Lykow house. (Courtesy of Charisa Lykov)

When he and his wife Charisa came outside, their first thought was to knock on neighbors' doors to warn them of the danger.

“We made it to the front of the house before I even noticed his skin was hanging,” Charisa Lykov said.

The most damage was to his right arm and leg. Major skin grafts were needed, but the biggest problem was on his right foot.

It had been causing him problems for a long time. He was born with a clubfoot, about a half-dozen bones fused together that caused him pain that was made worse by the burns.

Lykov says amputation was really the only option. In January, his leg was removed below the knee.

Nate Lykow had his leg amputated below the knee after a kitchen fire in January. (Courtesy of Charisa Lykov)

“I think I was lucky because I’m in a lot less pain now,” he said. “That was ultimately the goal.”

Lykow started a YouTube channel called Nate Phoenix to take people on the journey of recovery.

“It was in the back of my mind the whole time,” Lykov said. “I knew I had to make something good out of this shitty situation.”

He said while he would like to see the station grow big, that's not why he's doing it.

“It's really important to me to show other people that you can do anything you put your mind to,” Lykow said. “Regardless of the limitations of your situation.”

He said it will be a success if it helps just one person.

“If anyone else is going through what I went through, or anyone knows someone going through something similar, I just want to give them some hope, you know,” Lykov said. “Something to look forward to.”

Of course the journey isn't over yet. The next step? Inpatient rehabilitation to learn how to use a prosthetic leg. They expect this to happen within the next two months.