Boy seriously burned while playing with gasoline and lighter

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- A West Valley City boy is in the hospital after suffering second- and third-degree burns to nearly one-third of his body.

Neighbors say the 6-year-old boy and two friends were playing with gasoline and a lighter when the boy accidentally lit his shirt on fire near 1200 W. and 3700 South.

Mary Perkins says she watched as emergency crews treated him for his burns, "When I got over here is when they were just starting to cover him up with a sheet", she said. "For a little guy I think he did quite well, I mean he wasn't screaming or nothing."

**Children and Fire**
• In 2006, children playing with fire started an estimated 14,500 structure fires, causing an estimated 130 civilian deaths, 810 civilian injuries and $328 million in direct property damage. • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of all fatal victims of fires by playing are children 5 years old and younger. • Nearly two out of every three child-playing fires -- and four out of five associated deaths and injuries -- involve matches or lighters. • The items ignited by home fire-play are principally mattresses, bedding or clothing. *- National Fire Protection Association*
According to 911 dispatchers, Monday night just before 8:00 the boy's shirt caught fire while he and two other children were lighting puddles of gasoline inside a cupcake pan on fire. By the time someone put it out, neighbors say there wasn't much of his shirt left.

Neighbor Shiloah Saba said, "There was one strip down his back, the shoulder seams and the neck band, but that was basically it.

Firefighters say after a witness rolled the boy on the ground to stop the fire, he ran into his house where his parents took off the burning shirt. They then poured sour cream onto his chest, back, and arms where he had been severely burned.

Investigators say the parents told firefighters they used sour cream on the boy because they heard that it would help the burn. But firefighters say that was the wrong decision and say it probably did more harm than good.

"It really does nothing," says Battalion Chief Jeff Fox, with the West Valley Fire Department. "The sad part is they have to take it off, they have to scrub it off, so that probably causes a lot more discomfort and pain for him, and he was in a lot of pain originally."

Fox says the only thing the parents should have used was a sterile sheet. Anything else he says would be putting the burn victim more at risk.

Fox said, "With third-degree burns, a lot of times there is exposed nerves and they can get infections. That's a big problem with burn patients."

Fox says the boy did suffer both second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of his body, but fortunately none the burns were to his airway, hands or face.

He was flown to the University Hospital Burn Center in critical condition where doctors say he will need to undergo several skin grafts.

Sabo said, "It hurts me, it upsets me, because no little kid should go through something like that, no little kid."

Story compiled with contributions from Shara Park and Andrew Adams .

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