BLAZE OF FURY
CAMPERS BLAMED FOR GIRL’S THIRD- DEGREE BURNS
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.