Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - LY­DIA KELLNER

A GIRL, 3, suf­fered ag­o­nis­ing third- de­gree burns af­ter ir­re­spon­si­ble campers left a fire smoul­der­ing at a pop­u­lar beach north of Townsville at the week­end.

Han­nah Kel­ley ran on to sand cov­er­ing smoul­der­ing coals af­ter her par­ents stopped to douse a fire on the way home from a day trip to Ollera Creek on Sun­day.

De­spite par­ents Ben and Alana Kel­ley soak­ing their daugh­ter’s feet in litres of wa­ter, lit­tle Han­nah suf­fered se­vere burns and is un­able to walk.

Mr and Mrs Kel­ley took Han­nah to Townsville Hos­pi­tal’s Emer­gency Depart­ment fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

Mrs Kel­ley yesterday said she wanted to warn campers of the dan­gers of leav­ing camp­fires alight on public beaches.

“We want peo­ple to learn what can hap­pen if camp­fires aren’t prop­erly ex­tin­guished,” she said. “We go out there quite regularly to give the dogs and our kids a good run.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful area and we don’t want to see it be­ing closed down be­cause of peo­ple do­ing the wrong thing.”

Mrs Kel­ley said they pulled over to douse a fire when they saw a log burn­ing on the beach.

“We knew right away that some­one had left a camp­fire and told the kids not to get out of the car as we were go­ing to put it out,” she said.

“But as we pulled wa­ter out, our daugh­ter jumped out and ran straight across the sand, which was still hot from the fire, to get to the beach.”

Chil­dren’s Health Queens­land Burns and Trauma ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Roy Kim­ble said 56 chil­dren were treated for burns caused by camp­fires last year, with most in­jured af­ter walk­ing on hot coals that had been cov­ered with sand.

“It’s a dan­ger­ous mis­con­cep­tion that camp­fires can be ex­tin­guished with a few shov­el­fuls of sand,” he said.

“Camp­fires cov­ered with sand can re­tain heat at tem­per­a­tures of more than 100C for up to 24 hours, even af­ter the flames are no longer vis­i­ble.

“All it takes is one sec­ond of body con­tact with hot coals to cause very se­ri­ous burns.”

Queens­land Fire and Res­cue North­ern Area Com­man­der Mark McKen­zie urged campers to act re­spon­si­bly.

“We need peo­ple to make proper prepa­ra­tions,” he said.

“If you’re hav­ing a camp­fire, clear the area around it and make sure it’s fully ex­tin­guished when you leave.

“Sand alone won’t work and … can burn your feet even if you’re a few feet away.” Po­lice were told of the in­ci­dent.

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