Teen fighting for life after bonfire burns over 95 percent of her body

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida teen is fighting for her life after a New Year’s Eve bonfire left her badly burned.

Fourteen-year-old Layne Chesney was severely burned while making s’mores at a friend’s house in Fort Pierce. Deputies said, Chesney tried to revive a dwindling fire by pouring gasoline on it, causing the gas can to explode.

Her mother, Leigh Chesney, explained what happened. “The flames of the fire were going out and gasoline spilled onto the fire, and she became engulfed in flames.”

The teen was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center after suffering third-degree burns to over 95 percent of her body. The burns were so extensive, doctors were not sure if she would be able to pull through.

The family said doctors spent six hours removing her burned skin.

“What we understand is that skin becomes toxic, and it will enter the blood stream. It will cause major organ failure,” said the teen’s grandmother, Carol Forbes.

However, Layne’s mother said she is doing much better Wednesday now that she has made it through the first 48 hours.

“Her organs are functioning normally. Her vitals are all good,” said her mother. “She’s battling, and she’s doing a great job.”

However, the teen remains in critical condition and in a medically induced coma that she’s been in since Sunday.

“She’s always been a fighter, and I’m gonna fight with her no matter what it takes,” said her mother, through tears.

Chesney said her daughter, who is a ninth grader at Lincoln Park Academy, loved softball and is a straight-A student. Now she faces an uncertain future and months in the hospital.

“It’s hard to see her like she is,” said Chesney. “I just have that this is only temporary. It’s not going to be forever. I just have to look at it that way.”

Layne’s mother and older sister Lauren Chesney remain at her bedside, praying she will survive. “Obviously, she’s suffered a lot of disfiguring injuries,” said the elder Chesney. “The most severe are to her chest and her stomach. I just keep remembering how she was, and it’s very hard to see her like she is now.”

Chesney added that if her daughter recovers, she knows it will be a very difficult and long battle. “The only part of her body that wasn’t burned was the bottom of her feet,” she said. “There’s no going back now. We just have to look toward the future, and we have to remain hopeful for her progress.”

Now, Chesney has a warning for other parents. “Just discuss with your children about fire safety and just the dangers of having different flammable materials around an open fire,” she said.

“I can’t break down. When I’m with her, I can’t let her know that I’m emotional. I have to stay strong for her,” said Chesney. “She doesn’t need to see me upset because it’s only going to make her upset, and I need to keep her strong.”

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help with Layne’s medical expenses.

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