Ne­wark girl burned try­ing to light fire pit

Newark Post - - Local News - By CARL HAMIL­TON ca­hamil­ton@ches­pub.com

A 13-year-old Ne­wark girl suf­fered burns on Tues­day night when flames flared as she at­tempted to start a fire in a back­yard burn pit at her home, prompt­ing her mother to drive her to Union Hos­pi­tal in Elk­ton, Md.

The in­ci­dent was in­ves­ti­gated by fire of­fi­cials in Mary­land due to a mix-up over where the fire oc­curred.

“They live in Delaware, right over the (state) line. It was closer to drive her to Union Hos­pi­tal than to Chris­tiana Hos­pi­tal,” ex­plained Deputy State Fire Mar­shal Howard Ewing, who started his in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fire-re­lated ac­ci­dent af­ter hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials there con­tacted the the fire mar­shal’s of­fice.

Be­cause the girl’s “non-lifethreat­en­ing” first-de­gree and se­cond-de­gree burns to her face re­quired ad­di­tional treat­ment, emer­gency work­ers took her from Union Hos­pi­tal to the Crozer-Ch­ester Burn Cen­ter, south of Philadelphia, fire of­fi­cials said.

The girl spent the night at that burn cen­ter and was dis­charged on Wed­nes­day, fire of­fi­cials added.

Ewing started in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ac­ci­dent be­cause, based on er­ro­neous pre­lim­i­nary in­for­ma­tion, in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieved the teen had suf­fered her burns at her former ad­dress in North East, Md.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors later learned, how­ever, that the teen now lives near Ne­wark – where the ac­ci­dent ac­tu­ally had oc­curred at about 7:15 p.m. Tues­day, fire of­fi­cials re­ported. Ewing was un­able to pro­vide the ex­act ad­dress.

The case has since been turned over to Delaware fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors, Ewing said.

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Sr. Deputy State Fire Mar­shal Oliver J. Alkire had re­ported that in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieved that the flash fire oc­curred be­cause the teen had used gaso­line as an ac­cel­er­ant while at­tempt­ing to start the burn pit fire.

“Never use gaso­line or any other type of ac­cel­er­ant when start­ing a fire,” Alkire said, ex­plain­ing that the fumes from such ac­cel­er­ants cre­ate an un­pre­dictable sit­u­a­tion. “Any­one who is in that va­por cloud could eas­ily be burned.”

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