Actor injured in fire stunt at opera released from hospital

February 7, 2013 4:22:40 PM PST
Chicago actor Wesley Daniel is recovering at home Thursday evening.

He was released from the hospital following treatment for the burns he suffered during a rehearsal at the Lyric Opera.

All bandaged up, Wesley Daniel gave the "ok" sign in a photo taken shortly before the 24-year-old's release from Loyola University Medical Center.

Daniel has been hospitalized with second degree burns since his face went up in flames during a Lyric Opera dress rehearsal where the actor was performing a fire breathing stunt.

"It will be healed 6 months from now, it will probably be a bad memory," Dr. Arthur Sanford of Loyola University Medical Center said.

It's a bad memory that Wesley Daniel's father Clifton Daniel would like to forget.

Clifton Daniel, who is President Harry Truman's grandson, was sitting in the audience about 10 rows back when he saw his son blow two balls of fire successfully and he watched as something went terribly wrong with the third.

"You don't realize what is happening," he said. "You don't believe it is your child on fire and lunging to the side of the stage and it looks like his whole head is in flames. I just ran to the stage door."

While it looked bad, Wesley Daniel's doctors said the actor is extremely lucky that his wounds are nothing more than burns that are similar to a deep sunburn.

While OSHA is investigating the accident, Wesley Daniel still hasn't told his parents what went wrong.

"Some of the fluid got loose. It caught his neck on for fire below his mouth. How that happened? Why that happened? He hasn't yet said," Clifton Daniel said.

Wesley Daniel hasn't said if he plans to return to the Lyric Opera.

The actor's love for performing runs in the family.

"Grandpa loved the theater," Clifton Daniel said. "But i don't know if he ever imagined having a grandson spit fire. My grandfather was accused of doing it himself but not quite the same way."

Clifton Daniel said his family has strongly urged Wesley Daniel to give up his fire breathing act.

The Lyric Opera has replaced the fire stunt with juggling in its performance of Die Meistersinger, which opens Friday.

The opera would like Wesley Daniel to return. The actor has not decided if he plans to go back.