The family of a young Michigan girl who suffered horrific burns after running into a hot bonfire pit is warning others about the toddler's plight.
Marissa Mervyn of Pontiac, Michigan, said her 20-month-old daughter Riley was playing in the backyard of her grandparents' home on May 20 when she ran directly into the smoldering bonfire pit. The fire had reportedly been built the previous day to help clear debris off the property, and the coals in the pit were still hot when the toddler fell in.
Mervyn, who was at work at the time, learned of the tragic incident through a phone call.
"They said, 'Riley fell in the bonfire,'" she told WDIV. "That's all I heard. I threw the phone down."
She explained that Riley's grandfather had noticed the toddler getting too close to the fire pit and tried to warn her to keep away.
"He was like, 'Riley, stop,'" Mervyn said. "When that happened, she thought he was playing a game and went a little faster. So, without paying attention, she ran right into the bonfire pit, and fell face first."
The little girl suffered second- and third-degree burns all over her body. She is being treated at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
According to a GoFundMe page that the toddler's grandmother created to raise money for her medical bills, Riley will have to undergo surgery on her hands and receive skin grafts. The page, which was created on May 21, has raised over $11,000 in 10 days.
Doctors said the girl will likely have to stay in the hospital for a month.
Mervyn told WJBK that she is staying optimistic about her daughter's recovery.
"She's doing very well," she said. "She is wanting to sit up, wanting to walk. If it wasn't for her wanting to press forward, my hope would be gone. But seeing her want to do all this, is amazing."
In light of the tragedy, the little girl's mother also warned other families about the dangers that bonfires pose to small children.
"I really just want everyone to pay attention," she told WDIV. "Just pay attention. There should be bonfire awareness because it is the season."