TN mother, toddler burned after grain alcohol caught fire

KNOXVILLE – A Fourth of July celebration turned into a trip to the hospital for a mother and her two-year-old son.

Firefighters initially responded to a house or vehicle fire at 2710 Selma Avenue at 12:24 a.m. However, when arriving to the residence there was no fire.

Crews found Nicole Douglas, 30, and her two-year-old son on a porch of the home with severe second and third burns. Both are now being treated at Vanderbilt’s burn center.

“When we first initially got the call, I think it initially came in as a possible car fire. And then when our firefighters got there they found out it was actually two individuals that had caught fire,” said D.J. Corcoran with Knoxville Fire Department.

Knoxville police say it appears Douglas and another adult were drinking pure grain 190 proof alcohol when they poured a small amount into a tea light burner. The alcohol burned and appeared to go out, but a short time later there was an explosion that knocked the alcohol over and onto Douglas and her son, who was on her lap.

Corcoran said they estimated that the mother was burned over 27 percent of her body and the child was over 50 percent covered with second and third degree burns, which is severe. Friends of the family said the 2-year-old boy went through surgery and his mother will as well.

The boy is listed in critical, but stable condition. Douglas is listed in stable condition.

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