Child burned when sweater was set on fire to remove loose thread

- Four members of a little girl's family are in custody after she was burned when her sweater caught on fire.

Neighbors on Puritan street in Highland Park cringe thinking of the pain a 5-year-old girl felt when police say the sweater she was wearing went up in flames, burning her.

"Her chest area up into her left armpit and it goes to her back." said Det. Brian Menge, Highland Park police.

Highland Park police say Friday night in the home, someone decided to use a lighter to burn off a loose piece of thread on the child's sweater. The sweater quickly catching fire, causing third degree burns covering 10 percent of her body. 

At the time, the 5-year-old was with four other siblings, her parents, uncle and grandmother.

"It burns the nerve endings in the skin," Menge said. "And it is one of the most severe burns. When you sunburn would be a first degree burn, a third degree burn is the worst."

But police say, even though the mother told a relative she was going to take the 5-year-old to the hospital that night, she didn't - fearing her children would be taken away.

Instead: "They used Vaseline on the burns and then wrapped her wounds in toilet paper," Menge said.

And when that relative realized that little girl hadn't been treated, on Sunday afternoon she called police.

The 5-year-old girl who suffered blistering wounds is now in stable condition. The four adults in the home at the time are now behind bars facing possible child endangerment charges those four other children are with another family member.

"It's disturbing in itself not taking a child to the emergency room because she was injured," Menge said. "She's got a little work -- a long road ahead of her but she's going to be fine."

Highland Park police say that little girl will be in the hospital for at least another three to five days, meanwhile, charges are expected against those four adults -- as early as Tuesday.


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