The mother of a 6-year-old Indiana girl is warning about the dangers of candles after her daughter sustained horrific burns across 68 percent of her small body, when a candle engulfed a sofa in flames in a neighboring apartment unit.
On Dec. 16, 2018, as thick, black smoke filled Jared Mosgrove’s Lafayette apartment, the father grabbed son Liam, 11, and daughter Teagan, 4 — though he couldn’t find Kenzie, 6, in the dark, The Lafayette Journal & Courier reports.
"She couldn't get to me," the heartbroken dad remembered.
Trapped in the fiery space for three minutes, firefighters soon rescued Kenzie, who had been severely burned in the blaze.
In just three minutes, Kenzie sustained traumatic burns on 68 percent of her body. (Caters News Agency)
According to the Journal & Courier, the devastating fire began in the apartment unit below Jared’s, when a candle fell onto a couch around 6:30 p.m., as per the outlet.
Though the residents were able to escape quickly, little Kenzie was not so lucky.
Hospitalized in critical condition and soon airlifted to a specialized children’s infirmary, the girl’s mother, Jessica, said that her daughter sustained traumatic burns on 68 percent of her body in the accident, The Daily Mirror reports. Kenzie underwent six surgeries in one month “to clear her skin of infection that had been caused by the density of her burns,” later enduring skin grafts and amputations of her left fingers and toes.
"It was only two days after she went to hospital that Kenzie had her first surgery to help reduce all of the swelling in her body,” the mom told the Mirror. "From this point onwards, Kenzie had biweekly surgeries to remove all of the dead skin and replace it with the surviving skin on her thigh, as well as clearing her body from infection that she had accrued.”
"Unfortunately on her third surgery, Kenzie had to have her beautiful blonde hair removed, as the burns had covered her scalp also,” mom Jessica revealed. (Caters News Agency)
"Unfortunately on her third surgery, Kenzie had to have her beautiful blonde hair removed, as the burns had covered her scalp also,” Jessica revealed of the procedure, which happened just two days after Christmas.
"But the most devastating news came before her forth surgery on Jan. 3, when we were told that she would have to have her fingers and toes on the left side of her body removed, as they had completely died,” the mom lamented.
"This was one of the hardest things for her to understand, as she suddenly woke up and couldn't figure out where her hands and fingers had gone — which completely broke my heart."
The brave little girl, meanwhile, was moved to the rehab unit in February and she has already been able to walk without her left toes, according to the Mirror.
Discharged from the hospital in March, Kenzie returned to school in April, despite the challenge of having to wear to splints and garments for 22 hours a day.
"Kenzie is a very brave girl and has made amazing progress since leaving hospital — we are all so very proud of her,” Jessica said. "One of the sayings that has kept her going is 'I'm beautiful, I'm strong, I've walked through fire – what's your superpower?' and this has been prominent in her journey.
Nevertheless, the concerned parent knows her daughter’s life “is going to be altered forever” because of the accident — and wants others to be aware of the life-altering damage that open flames in the household can truly pose.
"As amazing as she is, this situation could have easily been avoided if a candle wasn't lit in the first place — and that's what I want people to know,” Jessica told the Mirror. “Hopefully by seeing what my baby has been through, people will stop leaving candles unattended and see the life changing affects it can have."
A GoFundMe has raised over $7,000 to date for Kenzie’s continued care, while her family has also launched a T-shirt fundraiser to help with the bills for her recovery.