A six-year-old Squamish boy is in stable condition at B.C. Children’s Hospital after having suffered second- and third-degree burns in a mishap at his family’s home in Brackendale on the weekend.
The incident, which occurred on Saturday (Nov. 30), happened when the boy’s mother, Kristy DeCook, was setting up in the family’s home at the Emerald Estates complex to remove her nail polish, DeCook told The Chief on Tuesday (Dec. 3). She had set an open bottle of acetone nail-polish remover on a table near the wood stove before lighting the fire, she said.
An ember from the fire popped up and struck DeCook, causing her to flinch and knock over the bottle of the flammable liquid, she said. Her arm caught on fire and she scrambled to the kitchen to find some water, she said.
She initially managed to put out her burning clothing but “when I was throwing a bucket of water on the floor, it mixed with the acetone and I caught on fire again,” DeCook said.
When her son Cameron Howells came downstairs to investigate the commotion, he slipped on the wet floor and the lower part of his body caught on fire, she said.
DeCook eventually managed to put out the fire as Cameron’s three-year-old brother ran to get help. While DeCook suffered burns to her left hand, Cameron’s condition is her greatest concern, she said.
Doctors have said they expect him to make a full recovery but the ordeal has been extremely painful, she said. Doctors are waiting to see how the skin on his hips and legs responds to treatment before deciding whether he’ll require skin grafts, she said.
Cameron is expected to remain at Children’s Hospital at least through this weekend and perhaps longer, DeCook said.
Cameron had taken one saline “burn bath” on Monday and was scheduled for a second one today (Dec. 5), she said.
“I can’t even imagine trying to get him out of his bed right now,” DeCook said.
“Even after he’s able to come home, we’re supposed to be coming down here at least twice a week for the next few weeks.”
DeCook said the experience has been extremely traumatic for both her and her younger son Gavin and that she expects the pair will need “ongoing counselling” for the next while.
She said some of the Squamish firefighters who responded to the emergency have visited Cameron in hospital and that members of the B.C. Lions football team planned to visit today.
She said her landlord is making plans to repair fire damage to the unit. In the meantime, she and her two children plan to live with relatives in Squamish. Friends who are part of the Squamish Moms group on Facebook planned to seek donations to help cover the cost of gas and parking that’ll be needed during Cameron’s hospital visits. As well, donation boxes were being set up at Hilltop House and at The Living Room.