Have you ever watched the news, read an article, or heard a story and
thanked God that wasn't you or someone you loved? Life takes its many turns, and has many balances and sometimes things are not always as we hoped.
On June 10th 2002 our lives changed forever. The morning was un-eventful, like the many others that came before. Then I heard a noise outside, nothing loud, just a noise of something falling. A few seconds later I heard the scream of a child. I walked through the house to the front door and was horrified to see one of my children coming through the door with the red, black and gold flames of their head, covering their face. The little one, was in a fast run as I turned and fell over the coffee table. I hit the floor, stood back up and lunged one more time to tackle the child to the floor in the kitchen. Not knowing which child it was, I reached for the child and smothered the flame. When he was on the floor and I was over him, I realized it was my son. I used what I had to smother the flames, my hands.
Have you ever seen a fish that was out of water flop around? That is what my son was doing, flopping around, screaming. I grabbed the phone and tried to keep Justin down on the floor. As I dialed 911, Justin was over powering to me, a strength I had never seen in anyone, let alone an 8 year old child. He ran for the living room and as I reached out to get him I realized. My God there is now where for me to touch him. As I screamed on the phone for help I seen that what was left of the backside of his shirt was still smoking, so I pulled it of and seen that my
son's skin was literally hanging of off him. He kept yelling that he needed water, but all
I could do was think that I shouldn't let him get water. I had no way to stop him physically because I couldn't touch him. I blocked
him by standing in door ways. All happening within minutes, yet to me still seems like a lifetime. Ambulances, fire trucks, rescue
squads and police all showed up around the same time. One lone fireman was at my door before anyone else. He had a white sheet and
without hesitating wrapped my son in the sheet and took of with him down the driveway with me following. The had put Justin in the
back of the ambulance and put me in the front, and all I kept hearing from my son was a little voice that said over and over, "I am
cold." Hysterical is the least of the words I can come up with as to how I felt. And a little part of me just couldn't believe what
I was seeing and hearing and all the sudden feeling. Not realizing I had burned my hands, I was being given ice packs for them. The
sirens on bound for the hospital, I had never been so mad in my life. Cars go by, cars move at the slowest pace possible and some
take their time getting out of the way. I remember thinking, what heartless people with no regard for the life of my son. We finally
arrive at the local hospital, were doctors and nurses are waiting in the ambulance bay. When Justin is hurried to the E.R. the staff
doctor comes in and pulls the sheet of off Justin and says, " Be right back, I'm going to call LifeLine." Nurses and doctors rush
and still all he says is, "I am cold." His jeans, shorts and underwear are cut of and the smell of gasoline is very strong in the room. While Justin is being tended to nurses try to occupy me and bandage my hands. The waiting room fills with family within minutes and the LifeLine team arrives to fly my son to another city to a Children Hospital. He is put to sleep and put on a breathing machine incase his air way swells and closes of in flight. What takes a 15 minute flight, takes us a 2 hour drive.
I suppose I could go on for days about Justin's accident. But the just of his story is he survived. What was grim, what was a living nightmare, what was accomplished after many surgeries and many prayers, what we were given back..... our son.
Gasoline and matches is what caused the fire. Justin received 3rd degree burns over 34% of his body. The burns were from his belt line up to his chin, around the right flank of his back, his right arm and the upper part of his left arm. Adults put gasoline in cars, and lawn equipment and never second guess an accident. So through the eyes of a child gasoline has no harmful effects. Sure we can tell them that gas is nothing to play with and be careful. But children learn best by what they see, and in their eyes nothing bad has ever happened to the adults around them with gas.
*Have you ever watched the news, read an article, or heard a story and thanked God that wasn't you or someone you loved?*
I used too....Now I thank God we are survivors
Justin's mom: Kimberly