Firefighter father promotes bonfire safety after daughter falls into flames

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INDIANAPOLIS (November 2, 2015) – A veteran firefighter has a serious warning for parents after his 4-year-old daughter was severely burned at a backyard bonfire.

It was a Friday night last month, career firefighter and EMT Bryce Unger was huddled around a campfire with four of the family’s kids. He turned to help one child make a s’more, taking his eyes off the others.

“Thirty seconds of putting a cracker and chocolate a marshmallow together and you’re done and in a blink of an eye it turned everything into a nightmare,” Unger said.

His daughter had fallen into the fire pit and was badly burned on her neck and arms as she tried to push herself out of the flames.

“I was screaming a lot when I fell in the fire,” Leah Unger said.

She was airlifted to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health where she has been treated in the burn unit for the past month.

“She has blisters and her burns are different colors on her left side. Both palms were bad and her left palm was worse,” her father said.

Leah has already had two surgeries and faces more painful procedures as she recovers. But, somehow she is still seeing the positives.

The Unger family wants their tragedy to be a safety lesson for others and says parents should stay alert and never turn their back while children are near a bonfire.

“Keep an eye on everyone and everything around you, because you don’t know what could happen,” said Danielle Unger.

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