Imagine the horror of seeing your own son on fire. One Spokane mother faced that on Monday, when her son came running out of his bedroom with his shirt on fire.
Austin Smith, 9, is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in a medically-induced coma with 2nd and 3rd burns to 53 percent of his body.
“The last things that he was saying was 'Tell dad I'm sorry, tell dad I'm sorry, tell dad I'm sorry,' he was just so worried about his dad, telling him that he was sorry that he didn't mean for it, that it was an accident,” Aunt Andria McAdams said.
McAdams said her sister, Austin's mother, was in the kitchen preparing to scoot her two sons off to school, when Austin came running from his room with his torso engulfed in flames.
His aunt suspects the normally rambunctious boy was playing with a lighter, but how exactly he lit his shirt on fire remains a mystery.
“There was nothing left of his shirt, nothing left, there was second and third degree burns,” McAdams said.
The family wishes they could ask the 9-year-old what happened but he is in a medically-induced coma so that he can't feel the pain. Doctors worry about the boy's lungs, too.
“The first surgery they did they put a pig skin covering over his burns to cover the muscle so they wouldn't get dried up,” McAdams said. Austin faces four more surgeries, the next is on Friday.
He also faces months of rehabilitation. The medical bills will inevitably stack up to an amount most families cannot afford on their own.
“She's a stay-at-home mom, she has her and her two boys that she takes care of at home and dad does tow truck driving for T&T towing,” McAdams explained.
Before the bills, though, this family from Spokane needs to be able to travel back and forth from Spokane to Seattle to be by Austin's side.
“He needs his family,” McAdams said.
To help, T&T Towing set up a benefit account at Wells Fargo under the name “Austin Smith Burn Victim Account”.
On Friday, September 21, Froyo Earth in Spokane Valley will donate 15 percent of their proceeds to the family if you mention Austin's name at the time of your purchase.