By Mollie Mansfield
A mother-of-two has spoken out about the danger of burning candles indoors after her daughter suffered AMPUTATIONS following an apartment fire.
Little Kenzie, six, was on a family weekend away in December 2018 when the apartment below suddenly burst into flames after an unattended candle got too close to the sofa and set it alight.
After becoming so frightened by the blaze, which travelled up to the family apartment, Kenzie, from Indiana, US, hid herself in her bedroom and wasn’t discovered until three minutes later by firefighters.
By this point, Kenzie had accrued 68 per cent burns all over her body and was rushed to hospital – where she remained for four months and had several surgeries including skin grafts and amputations on her left fingers and toes.
Her mother, Jessica, 42, said: “On Sunday, December 16 I received a phone call from Kenzie’s father telling me there had been a fire in the apartment below, caused by an unattended candle.
“After being in the fire for three minutes, Kenzie was rescued by firefighters and rushed to hospital to treat her burns.
“Obviously, I got to the hospital as quickly as I could and as soon as I walked in to the ward I knew how serious this was – she was black from head to toe and evidently in so much pain.
“She was then airlifted to a children’s hospital, and it was here that I found out that she had 68 per cent burns on her body and that she would need multiple surgeries.
“This one household decoration has turned my daughters whole life upside down – so I want to make the dangers of lighting candles known so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s little one.”
After being admitted to hospital, Kenzie then endured a gruelling month of six surgeries to clear her skin of infection that had been caused by the density of her burns.
Jessica, a former chef, said: “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.
“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 [December 27] Kenzie had to have her beautiful blonde hair removed, as the burns had covered her scalp also.
“But the most devastating news came before her forth surgery [January 3] where 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.
“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.”
In January, Kenzie took her first steps without her left toes before being moved to the rehab unit in February – and was finally discharged from hospital on March 12.
Despite her new life including wearing splints and garments for 22 hours a day, Kenzie was able to return to school on April 4.
Jessica said: “Kenzie is a very brave girl and has made amazing progress since leaving hospital – we are all so very proud of her.
“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.
“But despite how well she has done, her life is going to be altered forever – we worry that she’s not going to develop like a normal girl, and her amputations will cause difficulty with every day tasks.
“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.
“Hopefully by seeing what my baby has been through, people will stop leaving candles unattended and see the life changing affects it can have.”
Kenzie’s family have created t-shirts to help fundraise for her medical treatment and recovery, please visit: https://shop.frecklesgraphics.com/we_love_you_kenzie/shop/home?fbclid=IwAR2sAivSMxTMtaJ1q5RhSSCsOBehpVSEtOiQDsRgpXIs3wxDBd8YQZmL9lg