On Sunday February 19 1995 at about 6 am I woke up to the smell of smoke. I ran to the
door of my room and when I opened it I saw that half the living room was on fire. I screamed "Mom, the house is on fire!". The roar of the
blaze drowned out my call. I walked into the living room with wobbly knees. I was very scared. I almost fell down when I tripped. I ran
to the front door and tried to open it but the handle was hot and the door was dead bolted. I ended up burning my hands and not getting out. At that point I decided I should go out the back. As I ran out I heard the
cry of the baby. My Mom was watching an 18 month old baby. I went to the baby and there were no flames near him at the time. I tried
to pick him up but my hands were badly burned.... I couldn't pick him up. I pushed with my entire body the chair as far away from the
flames as possible. By this time he had stopped crying. I then ran into the dining room. As I walked I saw that both the doors were
closed. One was to the hallway and one to the kitchen. I went to the hallway door then realizing the kitchen was the faster way out.
So I went to that door and before I got out of the room the over head fan came crashing to the floor making a large noise. Not even
the fire could drown that sound out. As I walked through the kitchen the linoleum floor was surprisingly cool. From there I went to
the laundry room and out the back sliding glass door. There I was greeted by my family who had tried to come back for me but were blocked
by the heat and flames. We walked around the house to get to our neighbors home. We wanted to use the phone. That is when I looked down
to realize my arms were entirely black. I tried to hide it. I was in what was later explained to me as shock. I couldn't feel the pain
and therefore didn't think I was hurt. Once we got to the neighbors house my Mom knocked on the door. They answered and their faces
went from a mild frown to sheer terror. They let her inside immediately to use the phone. Meanwhile some of the boys were asking me
if I was all right I answered repeatedly "I don't know".
When my Mom came out she, her boyfriend and myself tried to break into the house through the front door to save the baby. That was when my Mom noticed I was seriously hurt. She
took me to the next door neighbors porch and made me lie down on their bench. As soon as she turned around I got up to follow her. That
is when the ambulance, fire department and other authorities got there. The paramedics got me into the ambulance swiftly and I was
fighting and asking over and over again if the baby was all right?" Of course they were so busy with me they did not know about the
baby. I was awake all the way to the hospital. I remember the emergency room. then I guess they sedated me. the next thing I actually
remember is being scrubbed down in the dreaded tub room months later. I was at Brookside Hospital. I was constantly having hyperbaric
oxygen treatment, surgery and physical and occupational therapy. Then they started having me walk a little it was excruciating pain.
I didn't want to even try.
After about 6 months I was transferred to Oakland Children's Hospital the first day there
they had me walk and I didn't hate them anymore in fact I appreciated it. I much preferred the new hospital. There were kids I could interact
with and that made me get well, I believe much faster. I still had to go through hell. Unfortunately it wasn't over. I still had surgery
after surgery and therapy treatment constantly. I felt like it would never be over. I met people with burns just like me who reassured me
that someday id be able to go home. Another 6 months later I was released. Now at home I had new challenges. First I had no nurses to help
me with every little thing. I would beg my
Mom to take me "home". At that time it meant to the hospital. Then I started school. I was teased constantly which led to me having to
prove I wasn't an invalid by fighting a kid who made fun of me constantly. I beat him up pretty good but it almost got me expelled. Then
after elementary I had middle school. I found friends there and I wasn't teased but I still had surgery and I didn't want go to the hospital
and leave my friends for months at a time. It still goes on today and probably will go on forever. As long as I live.
Now I am older and there are the aspects of it is much harder to get girls with the burn scars and I am sure as I go on
in life more problems will come up all because I am burned. Others
may not even be involved with burns but trust me you do not want to start fires and end up with burn scars.
So remember, when you start a fire you can hurt and kill others, not just destroy property.
My brothers had to learn that the hard way. They started this fire and everyday that they see me they know I am a Burn Survivor because