Young Atwater girl badly burned when candle ignites vapors

Merced Sun-StarDecember 24, 2012 

— An 8-year-old girl was badly burned this morning when a candle ignited vapors from a lice medication being applied to her hair.

The girl’s family told Cal Fire firefighters they’d been putting medication in her hair about 10 a.m. A candle was burning in the room, and the medication was flammable, according to Battalion Chief Gabriel Santos.

The vapors from the medication made contact with the candle flame, causing a flash fire. The medication on the girl’s body caught on fire, burning her, Santos said.

The girl’s father placed her in the bath tub and family members called 911. She was flown to a Fresno-area burn unit. Santos said the girl suffered second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent of her body, including her upper torso, face and back. He said she is expected to survive, but will require extensive medical treatment.

The fire, which was already out when firefighters arrived, caused minor damage to a room inside the home on Gleneagle Street. The girl’s father received minor burns, but he refused medical treatment.

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