Twenty-six-year-old first lieutenant and mother of three, Katie Ann Blanchard, always sensed that something was off with one of the employees she supervised.
That employee was 54-year-old Clifford Currie, who worked under Blanchard as a civilian at the Munsion Army Health Center in Kansas.
Blanchard told her colleagues that she was afraid to be alone with Currie, and she’d asked a second person to be present whenever she had to interact with him while at work.
Unfortunately, Blanchard’s words weren’t heeded. And her fears came true.
Around 5 p.m. on September 6th, hospital employee Deanne Kilia heard screams coming from down the hall.
Running to investigate, she found Blanchard writhing in agony on the floor, engulfed in flames from the waist up.
Currie, still standing nearby, had doused her with gasoline and set her on fire.
Kilian rushed to Blanchard’s aid and tried to put out the flames. But the worst was yet to come.
Currie also had a razor blade and a pair of scissors in his hands. He put his foot on top of Blanchard’s burning face and started slashing her with the scissors:
But Blanchard wasn’t going down without a fight.
She grabbed Currie’s leg and brought him to the ground. Kilian jumped in and wrestled with the attacker, managing to get the weapons away from him. Then she rushed out of the room to get help.
As three other employees pulled Currie off Blanchard, a fourth worker heard Blanchard say, “I told you this would happen.”
When a first responder voiced his suspicion that the burns were chemical, Currie, who was being detained by police, overheard the comment and shouted into the room:
“It’s gasoline, you idiot.”
While police were searching Currie, he started begging them to get him psychological help.
Blanchard overheard this and shouted:
“It’s not OK. He needs to be in jail.”
Since the incident occurred, an online fundraiser for Blanchard’s medical expenses has drawn close to $40,000 in donations, which is four times the initial goal of $10,000. They have since stopped accepting donations.
Blanchard’s husband, Troy Hokanson, who is also a serviceman, has been by her bedside since the attack.
Hokanson expects that it will take upwards of a year until his wife fully recovers.
As for Currie, he is currently in police custody. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.