Girl playing with lighter in Fort Lauderdale burns 30 percent of body, authorities say

Miami Burn Center treats pediatric burn victim from Fort Lauderdale

By Roy Ramos - Reporter, Robert Alpizar - Assignment Editor, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Firefighters said a 9-year-old girl was playing with a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a lighter while hiding in the bathroom of her home when she suffered burns Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale. Fortunately, her parents heard her screams for help. 

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said the flames burned about 30% of her body. Doctors with the Miami Burn Center at the Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center are treating her. 

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue personnel responded to her home about 7 p.m. at Northwest Eighth Street near Northwest 17th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale's Durrs neighborhood. They found the alcohol, the lighter and the girl who suffered severe burns to her legs. 

Gollan said she suffered second-degree burns, which means her skin was red, blistered, swollen and she was in pain. Firefighters first took her to Broward General Medical Center. Once she was stable they took her to the Miami Burn Center. 

Gollan also said investigators determined the burns were accidental and no charges will be filed. Unfortunately, with more children out of school, firefighters are getting more emergency pediatric calls.  

According to the National Fire Protection Association, lighters are the heat source in half of the child-playing fires in homes across the country. 

"We always urge parents to keep lighters or any type of fire away from kids at all times not matter what their age is," Gollan said. "Unfortunately in this scenario it is rather tragic." 

Safety tips

Firefighters advise parents to teach their children not to touch lighters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires for lighters to be too difficult for most children under 5 to operate, experts want parents to remember child-resistant lighters are not childproof. 

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