A Chico magician is back in the North State after being badly burned during a television appearance in the Dominican Republic on November 26th.
“It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened and to realize that I was on fire," Wayne Houchin said.
World-renowned magician and Chico native Wayne Houchin recalls his initial thoughts after a Dominican TV host lit cologne on fire and dropped it on his head.
"I remember thinking that the decisions that I make in the next couple seconds are going to determine whether or not I get out of this," Houchin said.
Luckily the 30-year-old did make it out, thanks to his fellow magicians on set who helped him extinguish the flames with a coat.
But even after the fire was out, it took some time to figure out what motivated the host, Franklin Barazarte, to attack Houchin.
"Before this happened it never would've crossed my mind that someone would do something this stupid and my eyes are open to that now and I feel like I'm living in a different world," Houchin said.
Barazarte reportedly attacked Houchin because he believed the illusionist was practicing black magic.
Shortly after the attack the host went on the run hoping to avoid criminal charges. He eventually turned himself in, but the ordeal hasn't extinguished Houchin's feelings for the people of the Dominican Republic.
“More than once I sat in my room and I teared up. Not because of what happened, but because I was getting an unbelievable amount of Facebook messages, Twitter messages, email, photographs. The outpouring of support did surprise me, and it did help," Houchin said.
His injuries have forced Houchin to cancel his appearances for the next few months, but there is a bright side.
"I'm just glad to be home with the family for the holidays and have an opportunity to heal," Houchin said.
Houchin says doctors don't expect him to have any permanent scarring on his face from the horrifying incident, and he plans to return to the stage next spring.