A Fire Safety Lesson

An 8 year old boy with severe facial burns 3 days after the incident.

8 Year old, shows his burns 3 days after the accident.

October 4, 2006, Bieber and Adin CA
Copyright 2006, BigValleyNews

On October 1 of this year, Bieber Fire Dept. was called to a structure fire on Third Street in Bieber. The fire was caused by 2 young boys, both of Bieber, one 8 years old, the other 10, who were playing in a debris pile near a structure on Third Street behind the Big Valley Nursery.

They found a can of flammable liquid and also some matches and started to play with them. The 8 year old lit a match and was slightly burned, so he threw it away and when he did the flammable liquid exploded. The 10 year old boy was also burned but not as severely.

Very frightened, the 8 year old boy ran home to his parents about 4 blocks away who immediately put him on the shower to cool him off. They were preparing to transport him to Mayers Hospital when emergency personnel showed up to check on his condition. He was then transported by ambulance to Mayers and then later to air lifted to the Shriners Hospital Burn Center in Sacramento with over 40 percent of his body affected by second degree burns, serious and very painful.

Normally I report an event like this without mentioning the names of the persons involved, particularly if they are local. Reports about medical conditions are limited to comments heard during radio traffic on emergency channels. However, in this case, the parents of the burn victims have made the decision to share the experiences with the community so that other youngsters will not suffer the same. The names of the victims will not be reported here. The community knows who they are because they both go to school in Big Valley. An assembly in both the Intermediate School in Bieber and the Primary School in Adin will be hosted by the Fire Department and the victims will speak of their experiences and show their injuries. The assemblies will take place October 13.

This decision to share the experience is commendable because a normal reaction is to shamefully hide a stupid accident like this from neighbors. This was not a stupid act although it probably was a foolish act, neither of the boys are stupid, in fact they are quite bright. I know when I was their age I fooled around with fire and explosives. After all, fire is attractive, exciting and sometimes beautiful. Sometimes in can be dangerous or deadly. I was lucky and never received any permanent injuries although I often hurt a lot.

The parents decided that it may save other boys from an accident like this by sharing their ordeal.

The 8 year old is now at home recovering from his painful experience where these pictures were taken. Pictures do not show both arms and legs under bandages.

Burns on the back of the neck.

Burns to the neck and side of face.

8 year old wanted his picture with a clown hat!

He wanted his picture wearing his clown hat!