Father of 8-year-old Caribou burn victim still unsure of fire’s cause

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 17, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — On the morning of Nov. 11, Scott Long, 39, was gearing up for a full day. He was not yet out of bed, but he heard his daughter moving around the apartment.

“That is when I heard her screaming,” the Caribou resident said on Friday.

When Long rushed to the kitchen, he found his 8-year-old daughter, Jasmine Long, with her T-shirt and the sweatshirt she was wearing on fire.

“I put it out as quickly as I could and called 911,” he recalled. “She just kept screaming and crying as I was trying to help her.”

The Prospect St. apartment is also home to Jasmine Long’s 11-year-old brother.

It was approximately 9 a.m. when the girl was burned.

She was taken by ambulance to Cary Medical Center in Caribou and then flown later on Nov.11 to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

On Nov. 12, she was transferred to the Shriners Hospital in Boston for continued treatment of second degree burns to her torso and arms.

At this point, Scott Long said, the family is still not sure how the accident happened. He said that his daughter possibly was playing with a bottle of hairspray close to an ignition source, but could not be sure.

Long said that he keeps matches and lighters out of his children’s reach and has never seen his daughter playing with such materials owned by anyone else.

While the girl is being treated in Boston, Long said that he has been hearing criticism about his family and the accident. It has, he said, added more stress to what is already a stressful time.

“This could have happened to anyone,” he said on Friday. “A number of kids get up earlier than a parent and play with toys and games, and that has happened in my house before the fire. Jasmine is naturally curious, but the only thing that she has ever gotten into is makeup. There was no negligence here. This was an accident.”

“I wish we as parents could safeguard everything in this world,” he continued. “But we can’t.

Long said that his daughter has made progress in her long journey to healing. She has had two surgeries and recently walked several hundred feet on her own. More surgeries are planned in the near future.

No charges are anticipated in the case, according to the state fire marshal’s office and the Caribou Police Department.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/17/news/aroostook/father-of-8-year-old-caribou-burn-victim-still-unsure-of-fires-cause/ printed on October 2, 2014