Family and friends said it's a miracle he's alive. A San Jose man faces a long road to recovery after he was electrocuted cleaning solar panels at a school in Milpitas on July 1. More than half of his body burned. He’s been at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Burn Unit ever since.
It’s the little things 35-year-old Clifton Clarke looks forward to, taking his kids to school, helping them with homework and making his wife coffee.
“Right now I’m feeling very grateful,” said Clarke. “The accident I had has a very high fatality rate from what I’ve been told.”
Back on July 1, Clifton suffered catastrophic injuries. He owns a business that specializes in exterior maintenance and was cleaning solar panel glass at Russell Middle School in Milpitas.
He was on a man lift using special equipment when he accidentally touched a 12,000-volt line that was exposed electrocuting him.
“I was knocked unconscious and the electrical current set my clothes on fire and burned 50 percent of my body,” said Clarke.
Clifton said at that time he felt like he was going to succumb to his injuries until he thought of one thing.
“In that moment my kids and wife came to mind so I decided not to accept it,” said Clifton Clarke.
Clifton now calls the burn center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center home for now. He suffered burns around his back, stomach, arms and neck. He was in a medically induced coma for two weeks fighting for his life undergoing eight skin grafting surgeries.
“From the very beginning he's had such a positive attitude and has been tremendously motivated,” said Nurse Manager Emiko Rivera.
His wife and high school sweetheart Michele never left his bedside.
“Our life is forever changed,” said Michele Clarke. “I don't know what's going to come down the road. I know we are a strong family. We will get through it.”
Clifton has more surgeries and physical therapy likely in the hospital for another six weeks. He knows it won't be easy but he's up for it. He’s overwhelmed with gratitude for his family, his care and for second chances not taking anything for granted.
“If you are in an accident and it looks like the odds are against you your life is worth fighting for and you too can be a miracle,” said Clarke.
The community has rallied around him raising nearly $40,000 to help with his medical bills through an online support fund click here. He was denied workman's compensation since he's self-employed. The hope is he'll eventually be able to go back to his normal life.