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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Child's Costume Burns On Halloween

    While trick-or-treating on Gopher Road on Halloween night, a 7-year-old boy wearing a loose-fitting costume came into contact with a candle flame on the front porch of a home, causing his costume to quickly catch fire. The boy suffered severe, third-degree burns to his face, head, neck, and hands, authorities said.

    Cary DeYoung, a student at Hawley School, who is the son of Neal and Suzanne DeYoung of 9 Gopher Road, was in fair condition on Thursday morning in Bridgeport Hospital, a hospital spokesman said. Cary's condition has improved since Halloween night, which was Sunday, October 31.

    The boy had been listed in serious condition on Tuesday. Cary reportedly underwent several hours of surgery on Monday.

    The incident occurred on the front porch at 1 Gopher Road, the home of Richard and Linda Reyes. After seeing that the boy's costume had caught fire, Mr Reyes, 53, attempted to put out the fire and in doing so, received severe, third-degree burns on his hands, police said.

    Mr Reyes initially was transported to Danbury Hospital, after which he was transferred to Bridgeport Hospital's burn unit, where he was treated for his burns, police said. Mr Reyes was discharged from Bridgeport Hospital on Monday, a hospital spokesman said.

    Police Sergeant Henry Stormer, who is a deputy fire marshal, investigated the costume fire incident for Fire Marshal Bill Halstead. Police and fire officials said it is the first time in memory that such an incident has occurred locally.

    Sgt Stormer said November 3 that Cary was trick-or-treating with his parents and at least one sibling at 1 Gopher Road at about 8:27 pm on Halloween, when while on the porch there, Cary noticed an electrically powered decorative toy cauldron, which discharges smoke, that was positioned on a low table on the open-air porch. The boy leaned over to inspect the device and in doing so, some piece of his costume came into contact with an open flame that was burning atop a softball-sized, pumpkin-shaped candle. The flame ignited the costume and caused Cary to catch fire, Sgt Stormer said.

    The Reyes residence, which is next door to the DeYoung residence, was elaborately decorated for Halloween. Gopher Road is a side street off Currituck Road.

    Cary was wearing a costume manufactured by Rubie's Costume Company, Inc, of New York City. The boy was portraying "Ringwraith" a character from the fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings. The costume manufacturer has been cooperating with police, Sgt Stormer said.

    The synthetic-fabric costume was a loose-fitting, one-piece black gown with a hood attached. A dark gauzelike material covered the boy's face. The costume had strands of fabric hanging from its sleeves.

    When the costume ignited, it burned very quickly, with the flames shooting upward, the sergeant said. Ignition of the costume and Mr Reyes' efforts to extinguish the fire occurred in a matter of seconds, Sgt Stormer said.

    Cary's torso was protected from burn damage because he was wearing a heavy shirt underneath the costume, the sergeant said.

    "It happened so quickly. They [Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps] were gone before the [police] officer arrived on the scene," Sgt Stormer said.

    The ambulance corps decided to transport Cary directly to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit, which was a wise decision under the circumstances, Sgt Stormer said.

    Sgt Stormer met November 2 with an investigator from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in conjunction with his investigation into the incident. The CPSC will have the remaining portion of the damaged costume tested to learn the physical characteristics of the garment, including whether it would emit toxic fumes while on fire, he said. The costume had a warning label affixed to it stating that it should not be worn near open flames, he said.

    Sgt Stormer said he has been interviewing those who were present at the costume fire incident.

    Accidental fires caused by contact with the open flames created by candles are very common in the United States, Sgt Stormer said.

    "It was a very unfortunate incident," Mr Halstead said, noting that local firefighters annually respond the several fires caused by candles.

    Because Halloween costumes pose fire hazards to their wearers and to those nearby, after children wear those costumes for Halloween, parents should discard the garments, Sgt Stormer said. Allowing children to continue wearing such garb in a household environment could pose fire hazards, he said.

    Of the incident, the sergeant said, "It's incomprehensible...It's an accident...You wish it didn't happen, but it did...It's just a terrible situation for two families," Sgt Stormer said.

    "This is scary. This is actually scary that millions of people every year actually put their kids in these things," the sergeant said of the hazards of wearing such costumes. "This should wake people up," he said.

    There is no apparent criminal culpability in the fire incident, he said, adding though that it might prompt some civil action in court.

    If the CPSC determines the costume manufacturer to be a fault in some regard, the agency could order a product recall or could levy a fine, Sgt Stormer said.

    The CPSC will take over the investigation from Newtown police because the federal agency is expert in handling such product cases, he said.

    Police Chief Michael Kehoe said of the incident, "It's a tragic set of circumstances. We send our best prayers and hope for the recovery of the child."

    Mr Halstead said, "We're very concerned that there's a product out there that will ignite so quickly...We want to pursue it further, so hopefully this doesn't happen again."


  2. #2
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Maybe I missed it, but shouldn't they be looking at the decoration that CAUSED the costume to catch fire as well as the costume itself???

    How frightening for that child and his sibling.
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  3. #3
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    Unhappy Child's Halloween Costume goes up in flames

    Well, the fire is still under investigation, but I am lucky enough to work with the Fire Marshall, Bill Halstead, since he is my chief. From what I've heard it was the actual cape that caught on fire, and Bill is still contacting the manufacturer of the costume to determine what exactly it was in the matrial that made it go up in flames so easily. Our prayers ar still with both families though, and as far as I can tell, there were no decorations, but just a sheet of fabric. I hope that answers your question.

  4. #4
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    No, what I meant is why is there no investigation about the decoration "cauldron" that caused the cape to start on fire in the first place.

    when while on the porch there, Cary noticed an electrically powered decorative toy cauldron, which discharges smoke, that was positioned on a low table on the open-air porch. The boy leaned over to inspect the device and in doing so, some piece of his costume came into contact with an open flame that was burning atop a softball-sized, pumpkin-shaped candle. The flame ignited the costume and caused Cary to catch fire, Sgt Stormer said.
    But thanks for replying!
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  5. #5
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    Talking The REAL answer, lol

    OH! I'm sorry! What police repot is that there was a small cauldon that produced a fog/steam. When Cary bent over to look at it, there was a small pumpkin candle that was burnng positioned on a handrail to the porch. I do not know if they have investigated the candle at all. I have vry limited access to what I am allowed to know and what I am not allowed to. Sorry for the confusion!

    Dave

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