Surviving More Than The Fire

By: Jacqueline Thompson

Hello, my name is Jacqueline, 14 years old and I am about to go into 10th grade. I am a burn survivor of 10 years (11 April 2002). A lot of people feel sorry for me and I hate it. I hate when people have pity for me.


Let me start at the beginning. Early morning of April 27, 1991 my house became engulfed in flames. My Dad was at work, my Mom was sleeping and my baby sister and I were sleeping in the room next to my Mom's. At the time I was 4 and my sister, Rebecca, was 1 year and 18 days old. The ceiling fan in our living room had started the fire. As usual, we had left the fan running during the night because we lived in the city and it got really hot at night, even in April! Instead of just the fan part moving, the whole console twisted and the wires were rubbing against each other. This caused them to spark and start the flames. We had a drop ceiling so that allowed the flames to spread throughout the house at a more rapid rate. The worst part about the whole thing is that we only had ONE working smoke detector in the house, and that one happened to be in my room with my sister and I.

I have to mention that I have always been a very heavy sleeper. The fire alarm went off, I did not hear it and my Mom thought that it was my Dad's alarm clock before smelling the smoke, so it wasn't good. Outside the house there was a man he was delivering the newspapers to the delivery-boy when he spotted the flames and smoke. He quickly rushed over to the house and found my Mom outside panicing, screaming, "MY BABIES ARE IN THERE, MY BABIES ARE IN THERE!!!" He then ran into the house, (keep in mind that this man has never before been inside that house), directly to the room in which my sister and I were in. He picked both of us up and went to go out the door. He dropped us, ran outside at least 2 to 3 times for air. Then the firemen, and EMT's got there. I ended up walking out by myself, how I don't know, but I did. They never found my sister. The firemen and everyone else said that since Rebecca was so young. She was dead from smoke inhalation before my Mom woke.

I went into the hospital and stayed there for 3 months. The doctors told my parents that I would never walk again, I would be blind out of my right eye, I would be deaf out of my right ear, that they were going to have to amputate my right hand, and foot, and that I would have to have major surgery on the right side if my face.

Wanna hear the funny part? I have had no surgery on my face, and you can't even tell I was burnt on it, I can see and hear fine, except for the thing called selective hearing when my parents and teachers talk to me! lol! And, I have been a Softball player since I was six, and I was the only girl on my Baseball league last year!!


Yeah I go through surgery every few years, and I still greave over my sister's death, but I still consider myself as a normal kid growing up having a normal life. I am not a very religious person, but I do believe that every thing happens for a reason! I also believe that it was my sister's spirit guiding the man to my room and waking me up to walkout. I believe she is the reason I am writing this today. Yeah, I got teased a lot growing up. I was told that it was because of me that my sister died, and that my Mother cooked me too long in the oven.


The worst of the scars, I believe, are the emotional scars. I am the kind of person that holds every thing inside. I tell no one any thing. That's bad. I have been working on that. I now go to a psychologist because so many things have been put into my head. I also just recently became an Explorer Fire fighter. Now you may think I am crazy, but I am the kind of person that has to give back twice what I was given. I want to be on the other side of the fence, I want to help some one for once. Doing this helps a lot! Also I attend a Burn Camp each year. Oh yeah, There is this National Burn Camp in D.C. every year, and one camper from each state get to go along with kids from! other countries. Well guess who was picked, me. I am so excited! I go from Sept. 26- Oct.3. I am so thrilled! I'll write about I when I get back. Well that's me. See ya later!! Jacqueline.

It is very important to overcome new challenges and obstacles. By doing so you will be getting stronger everyday. Each and every day everyone will have to face new challenges. Burn Survivors and everyone else has a good chance of getting through the rough spots by having that positive will to live and compassion for our self and others.

Finally, if you are ever feeling blue and you haven't got a clue find a family member, friend, the closest chat stop. Tell us all your hopes and fears concerns. Give yourself and us all a chance to help you. This way you can settle down and get through the night. Remember being a burn survivor is not a perilous flight. I wish you all a safe and comforting journey.