Matty Miller Nearly Dies In Home Inferno

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

RUTHERFORD, N.J.. — RHP Matty Miller of Felician University is without question the greatest comeback story in college baseball history.

At 7:27 a.m. on New Year’s Day 2014, he was jolted awake by black smoke that had engulfed his second story room as a raging fire was taking place on the first floor of his parents’ home.

Matty, 13 at the time, and his 7-year-old brother Christopher, slowly made it down the stairs, crawling on their hands and knees as they attempted to get out through the front door.

But the metal door knob was so hot that part of Matty’s right pitching hand fused to the knob, forcing the two young boys to try and get out of the house via the back door.

Matty barely escaped as the blaze left him in serious condition with second and third-degree burns on 63 percent of his body.

Christopher didn’t make it and died.

Matty was rushed to the hospital and given virtually no chance of survival as he ultimately went into a coma that lasted 1 ½ months.

“I lived my entire life up to that point in East Elmhurst, N.Y.,” said Miller.

“On New Year’s Eve, my brother came into my room on the second story and slept in my bed. I really don’t know why. Firefighters said the fire began at about 6:45 a.m. on New Year’s morning.

“My two cousins were at our house on New Year’s Eve, and it was one of the coldest days of the year at about 10 degrees. They stoked the fire with some wood before they went to bed on the first floor and forgot to put the fire screen back. At some point, embers from the wood in the fire place caught our couch on fire as the room ultimately was engulfed in flames.

“I woke up at 7:27 a.m. to the smell of smoke and saw a thick, black cloud above us in the room. That’s when I immediately jumped out of my bed and woke up my brother since I didn’t know what was going on.

“Then I looked out the window and saw a fire from the first floor. We immediately put clothes on, and I wrapped my brother up in a bunch of other clothes so he wouldn’t get burned if flames were in our path to get out of the house.

“That’s when we started making our way down stairs to try and go out through the front door.

“The staircase was not on fire as we made our way down. Neither my brother or I had any shoes on, and the wooden floor was extremely hot.

“On a typical day, it would take 20 seconds to get from my second story room to the front door. But with the thick smoke making it incredibly tough to see, we made it down the stairs on our hands and knees with difficult breathing conditions. It may have taken 2 ½ minutes.

“The heat was so intense that 63 percent of my body suffered second and third degree burns, including my back, both arms, neck, face, and left side of my body.

“When I reached to open the front door knob, I severely burned my whole right hand. The injury would require skin grafts in the palm of my right hand. My fingers were burned as well.

“Christopher was directly behind me, and I told him to get out of the house through the back door since I couldn’t open the front door. He started moving in that direction, but I lost contact with him because of the thick smoke. Then I crawled all the way to the back door through living room, dining room and kitchen to make it out.

“When I got outside, the jolt of going from an inferno to 10 degrees hit full force. It was one extreme to the other. All I could think about was my brother and where was he.

“I assumed he had escaped through the back door before me.

“When I was outside, I was sitting down and was still really hot and couldn’t talk because of all the smoke in my lungs. A police officer was outside. He gave me water and covered me up and helped me.

“Then I was put in an ambulance as paramedics sedated and transported me to New York Presbyterian Burn Center in Manhattan. I was fortunate because they have one of the best burn centers in the entire country. I had one of the best doctors in the world in Dr. (Roger) Yurt.

“The ambulance was about halfway to the hospital, and I went into a coma and didn’t come out of it for a month and a half.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Feb. 11, 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. It delves into how he came back from being in hospitals for 2 years and how he became a pitcher at Felician University. It is a remarkable comeback story and is a testament to a young man who never gave up in life and playing the game of baseball.