Fire that burned girl in hospital blamed on sanitizer & olive oil

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by KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 12:19 PM

PORTLAND -- The fire that burned a young patient earlier this month at Doernbecher Children's Hospital was caused by hand sanitizer combined with olive oil that was ignited by static electricity, investigators said Wednesday.

Ireland Lane suffered second- and third-degree burns to 18 percent of her body in the fire. Doctors at Legacy Emanuel Burn Center were treating her for the burns.

"She was wiping the bedside table clean from an art project, using hand sanitizer. Her shirt had olive oil on it," lead investigator Dan Jones explained.  "It was like a candle wick that was easily ignited by the static that was in the bedding and clothing in her room."

He added that this was an "extremely unusual event" that could have happened at any health care facility across the nation.

The hand sanitizer was alcohol-based and supplied by the hospital.  The olive oil was all over her cotton shirt and hair. The unusual combination helped the fire spread quickly across the front of her body, investigators said.

Hospital officials said the olive oil had been given to Ireland to remove adhesive from an EEG exam.  Doernbecher said it would no longer use olive oil in this way, as a precaution following the accident.

The 11-year-old girl had been making crafts for the nurses in her bed, when she caught fire.  Then she suddenly ran into the hallway with flames climbing up her shirt.

Her father, Stephen Lane, was asleep in the room at the time. Ireland's screams woke him up and he ran into the hallway and jumped on his daughter to smother the flames.

"I remember being scared at first," Lane said of seeing his daughter on fire.

 "My hard memories are of putting her out. It's hard to see your child hurt at all, but to be on fire and screaming, you know and then crying, 'help me!'"

Ireland was being treated at Doernbecher because she fell and hit her head at her Klamath Falls home. The fall caused her to lose consciousness. She is also a cancer survivor.

Now she has a long recovery ahead from the burns.

Her mom, Danielle said she feels confident her daughter will be okay.

"She has her faith," she said.

(KGW Reporter Mark Hanrahan and Abbey Gibb contributed to this report)

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