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Burned deputy back at Augusta burn center

Ralph Braswell and Great Dane Nugget.

A Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy who suffered severe burns while working on his vehicle was back in the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, for the third time in two weeks, according to a Tuesday morning post on his wife’s Facebook page.

“We are heading back to Augusta Burn Center,” the post on Darlene Kopper Braswell’s Facebook page read. “He is not able to maintain his body temperature.”

Deputy Ralph Braswell, 55, suffered second- and third-degree burns to his upper body, limbs, face and head when his personal vehicle burst into flames as he worked on the engine on two weeks ago. The fire, ignited Braswell. He was initially transported to Laurens Memorial Hospital around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3 and then on to the burn center in Augusta.

An infection caused by deep third-degree burns caused a return trip to the burn center this past week, but he was released after a couple of days. Braswell, who has been an LCSO deputy assigned to the Johnson Detention Center for about a year, suffered burns over 44% of his body. 

He was to undergo another surgery Thursday morning.

“Right now, my main focus is getting him taken care of,” Darlene Braswell said of her husband last week during a phone interview from Augusta. “I’m trying to keep everything together.”

The Braswells credit the quick actions of their adopted daughter, Summer Howard Braswell, 16, for helping to save her father immediately after the engine explosion. The family, which also includes another adopted daughter, Arianna, 12, is now faced with a third stay in Augusta and other medical and living expenses.

Ralph Braswell recovering in Augusta.

With Ralph Braswell out of work for an indeterminate amount of time, Darlene said she is appreciative of help from the community, and the family is in need of long- and short-term financial assistance.

A fund has been set up locally at SunTrust to help with necessities for the family, and donations can be made there in Ralph Braswell’s name. Donations may be made online at, a Christian-based crowd-funding website, and on Facebook.

Darlene Braswell said she is thankful for help from friends and neighbors who have already pitched in, including Pet Commander Boarding in Greenpond for taking in the family’s “tea cup” Great Dane, Nugget.

This is the second fire-related incident to impact the LCSO in as many weeks. This past week, LCSO Deputy Adam Teseniar and his seven-member family lost their home in a house fire in Newberry County. His partner, Amanda Carter, is a Newberry County sheriff’s deputy.

A BBQ Fundraiser for the Teseniar-West family is scheduled for Saturday, June 29 from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Ringer Enterprises at 117 Wilson Park Drive in Newberry. Tickets are $10 per plate and can be purchased at the LCSO.

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