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Holiday candle catches fire to Idaho girl’s sequin shirt, causing severe burns

Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 16, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — An 8-year-old Idaho girl suffered severe burns over a quarter of her body when a holiday candle caught her reverse sequin shirt on fire Saturday.

Aaliyah Shepard accidentally reached over a holiday candle sitting a countertop at their home in Mountain Home, Idaho, according to her family.

Within seconds, she was on fire and her sequined shirt melted to her skin.

“It totally engulfed her in flames,” Aaliyah’s mother Tia Simmons told FOX 13 News.

Aaliyah is the youngest burn unit patient at the University of Utah Hospital, suffering third-degree injuries on the top half of her body.

“By the time we got [the fire] out, the whole shirt had melted and you could see sequins melted into her skin, and it was bad,” Simmons said.

Burns wrap around her upper body, to her hands, foot and even her scalp.

Aaliyah was flown from the Boise area to Salt Lake City for specialized treatment Sunday. Doctors predict 90 percent of her burns will require skin grafts.

“When you put gasoline on a fire and then you light it, that’s what it did,” Simmons said.

Aaliyah is expected to spend nearly a month in the hospital. Simmons said her daughter is staying strong despite the immense pain.

Her first in a series of surgeries is scheduled Tuesday.

“I will never buy another sequined shirt again. I never want a candle in my house again,” Simmons said.

Aaliyah is asking for Christmas cards to decorate her hospital room.
They can be sent to:
Aaliyah Shepard
C/O Customer Service
University of Utah Hospital
50 N Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132

A fundraiser on Facebook has crowdsourced more than $4,500 for medical expenses.