Broward County

9-year-old girl burned from waist down after playing with lighter, alcohol bottle


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A 9-year-old girl accidentally lit herself on fire while playing with a lighter and a bottle of alcohol at home Thursday night.

The girl sustained second-degree burns to about 30 percent of her body and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Miami Burn Center.

The incident occurred at a home in the 1700 block of Northwest Eighth Street in Fort Lauderdale just before 7 p.m. The girl was inside the home while a caretaker and multiple other children were outside, said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Batallion Chief Stephen Gollan. She presumably entered the home to use the restroom.

The girl’s screams jolted the caretaker into action, and she entered the home to discover the girl was on fire from the waist down. Gollan said it appears the girl lit the bottle on fire and dropped it to the floor.

“The alcohol ignited from the lighter and had burned the lower part of her body,” he said.

Fire Rescue transported the girl to Broward Health Medical Center, where she was stabilized and then transported to the Burn Center due to the severity of her burns.

“She’s still in a lot of pain and it’ll be a long road to recovery,” Gollan said.

He said the incident should serve as a learning moment for parents to teach their children about fire safety, especially during the summertime when kids are away from school and other responsibilities.

“Over the summertime when children aren’t occupied by school...they tend to get into more trouble,” he said. “We tend to see an increase in pediatric injuries during the summertime simply due to boredom.”

The incident was deemed accidental and the caretaker will not be criminally charged, Gollan said.