PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) - A toddler was horribly burned after falling into a smoldering fire pit.
Now her Pontiac family hopes their story can serve as a warning to others.
"That was a horrific, unbelievable moment for us," said Marissa Mervyn.
Mervyn says she is living a parent's worst nightmare. Nearly two weeks ago, her energetic 1-year-old little girl named Riley, was outside playing at her grandparent's home with her brother and other family members.
A bonfire was set to help clear debris from the property. Riley was running and having fun and then: "She just ran right into the fire," Mervyn said.
And just like that laughter and joy turned to fear and panic. Marissa says she was at work when the tragic incident took place.
"Something you cannot prevent your child from going through," she said. "That is hurtful. If I could trade her place I would have been in that fire, not her."
Mervyn says Riley suffered third degree burns from head to toe. But there is a positive side to this story.
"She's doing very well," Mervyn 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."
Marissa says she shares her story to raise awareness but also wants people to not jump to conclusions.
"For people to say "Watch your child, watch your child' my child is very watched," she said. "And her grandfather was literally three to five seconds behind her. If he were any further she would have suffered a lot more and possibly died."
Riley's family says their precious little girl has a long road to recovery. Doctors say she'll likely spend about a month in the hospital and they've set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.
"Anyone who has put $10 $5 I can't thank them enough," Mervyn said. "That gives me hope that my little girl will have a normal life."
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