Two New England Toddlers Burned in Campground Incidents

July 16, 2012 by · Comments Off on Two New England Toddlers Burned in Campground Incidents 

Two small children were burned in separate, unrelated incidents at New England campgrounds over the weekend.

According to the The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass., a 4-year-old child was taken by medical helicopter to at Rhode Island Hospital after she fell into a campfire on Saturday night (July 14).

The child was camping with family at a cabin at the KOA Campground on Route 44 near Middleboro, Mass., when she was severely burned, said Fire Lt. Timothy Reed. Reed said the girl was playing near a campfire when she fell in.

Reed said emergency treatment was administered by trained fire department personnel before the ambulance arrived. The ambulance met Medflight at the Peirce Playground at 9:42 p.m. to transport the girl and her mother to Rhode Island.

Reed said the girl had second-degree burns on her face, neck, both hands, both arms and a leg. He did not release her name.

Fire Capt. Thomas E. Gaudette said this is the second time someone has fallen into a campfire this summer. Three weeks ago a 22-year-old man was burned on his arms and legs after he fell into a fire pit at 2 a.m. after a calm bake on Plymouth Street.

Gaudette said there was no flames, just hot coals where the man was sitting before he stumbled into the pit. Gaudette said the man was taken by medical helicopter to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with burns to his hands and arms.

“I can’t remember ever having a problem like this with campfires,” Gaudette said. He advised people to “keep it small and be careful” around campfires and don’t get too close.

Meanwhile, WCSH-TV, Portland, Maine, reported that a two-year-old girl is being treated at a Boston hospital for serious burn injuries after she accidentally fell into a fire pit Sunday morning in Lebanon, N.H.

Click here to watch a video clip about this story.

The Lebanon Rescue Department says it was called to Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort in Lebanon just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday. When rescue officials arrived on scene, they found a girl with serious burns and called in a medical helicopter to transport her to Boston.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the incident. They say it appears to be an accident and that the child was outside playing with siblings and family when she accidentally fell backward into the fire pit which had hot coals in it.

Investigators say family members immediately pulled the girl out of the fire pit and called for help. Bystanders and campground staff assisted in providing first aid for the girl until rescue personnel arrived.


The two-year-old girl is from Milton, New Hampshire


‘Miracle Girl’ Injured in Maine Storm Returns Home

August 30, 2010 by · Comments Off on ‘Miracle Girl’ Injured in Maine Storm Returns Home 

The Massachusetts girl impaled when a tree fell on her family’s tent at a Lebanon, Maine, campground earlier this month has made a stunning recovery and returned home Thursday night (Aug. 26), Foster’s Daily Democrat reported.

Emily Malewitz, an 11-year-old from Millis, Mass., was able to sleep in her own bed for the first time in weeks after being discharged from the hospital on Thursday, according to Assistant Lebanon Rescue Chief Jason Cole.

Emily suffered critical injuries after a freak thunderstorm swept through the Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort on Aug. 9. Within minutes, the storm featuring winds up to 60 mph took down numerous trees around the campground, including one that flattened the girl’s family’s tent.

Six people were in the tent. Emily was the most seriously injured and had to be rushed to Maine Medical Center in Portland for an emergency surgery. During surgery, doctors removed a 10- to 12-inch stick that was lodged within an inch of her heart and other pieces of bark from her body.

The girl was finally able to leave Maine Medical Center at around 1 p.m. Thursday. It was initially expected she would spend a few days at Children’s Hospital Boston to meet with plastic surgeons who will complete work on a wound on her back, but by 9:45 p.m., Cole reported she was able to return home with her family.

“We are very excited for the family,” said Rescue Chief Samantha Cole. “We have had an amazing time learning about Emily, her family and friends and the entire Millis community. Emily is an example of a miracle and why so many of us volunteer to help our community by being on the Rescue Department.”

The tragic incident was overshadowed by an impressive showing of support from the local community. Lebanon Rescue set up a fund to help the family with medical costs and donations totaled more than $6,000, Jason Cole said.

It looks to be a lasting relationship, as Cole said he has been in touch with family and friends in Millis who want to arrange a softball game between the two communities. Cole said they are working within the fifth-grade classes at school to teach about the new “sister” communities.

“I have been amazed reading through the hundreds of e-mails and cards to see how great the people of Millis are. The outcome is better than we could have imagined. When I arrived at the scene just minutes after the accident happened, I never thought she would be doing this well this fast,” Cole said.

Cole said Malewitz’s father truly saved her life when he managed to lift part of the tree off his daughter to allow her to breathe until rescue crews arrived.

Samantha Cole indicated she looks forward to going to Millis to visit the Malewitz family when Emily is fully recovered, while Jason Cole said Emily may return to Lebanon, Maine, to meet those who helped save her life.

Camper Recovering from Harrowing Incident

August 19, 2010 by · Comments Off on Camper Recovering from Harrowing Incident 

The young Massachusetts girl who was injured when a tree fell on her family’s tent during a storm about 10 days ago is doing well after having emergency surgery at Maine Medical Center (MMC) in Portland last week, Foster’s Daily Democrat reported.

Emily Malewitz’s condition was upgraded to “fair” on Tuesday morning (Aug. 17), she was sitting up and had been taken off a respirator Monday afternoon, according to Jason Cole, Lebanon’s assistant rescue chief.

Emily and her three siblings, who are all 10 (they are quadruplets), and their parents were in their tent at Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort campground in Lebanon when a sudden thunderstorm hit. Winds blowing at 60 mph took down branches and trees including one that came down on the Malewitz family’s tent and another that fell on their minivan. Rescue workers had to remove tree limbs in order to get access to the tent.

Emily was seriously injured and was transported to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H., where she was stabilized and then transported to MMC’s trauma center.

The three other Malewitz children were treated at Frisbie Hospital for minor injuries and released.

Surgeons at MMC removed a stick approximately 10-12 inches long from Emily’s body, Cole said. The stick was less than an inch from many vital organs, including her heart, according to Cole. Dozens of pieces of bark were also removed from her body.

Her condition was upgraded briefly last week to serious, but was later listed as critical again.

On Friday, Aug. 13, Emily underwent three hours of surgery to clean out the area that was affected. She was on a respirator and was still listed in critical condition, however, her family was advised that she should make a full recovery, but that it is likely to be a slow process.

The Malewitz family is from Millis, Mass., but have stayed in Portland to be with Emily.

In an e-mail sent to Lebanon Rescue members on Tuesday, Emily’s mother, Kathleen, said her sister and brother are looking after the other three children.

Volunteers with the Lebanon Rescue Department are raising funds to help the family with the costs of staying in Maine with their daughter. Jason Cole said the rescue department had received over 100 calls from people offering assistance to the family, so they decided to establish the “Emily Fund.”

As of Tuesday, the Rescue Department had collected more than $1,200 for the family. In addition, another $800 was raised at the Flat Rock Family Resort campground for the family over the weekend, bringing the total collected to more than $2,000 in just four days.

Rescue members visit the family regularly, offering assistance and support, Cole said. They are taking the donations to the family and hope to continue to help them, “so they can focus on Emily and her recovery and not worry about finances.”

The medical costs are expected to be over $100,000, Cole said. The family does have insurance, but will still have expenses to cover and Emily’s parents, Peter and Kathleen, may be out of work for a while.

The rescue department has received cards and donations from all over New England and New York, said Lebanon Rescue Chief Samantha J. Cole. “The family has been so appreciative of the support and we continue to pray for Emily’s recovery,” she said.

In her e-mail on Tuesday, Kathleen Malewitz wrote that her daughter “is now breathing on her own and able to speak with us. The doctors, nurses, and, yes, even Peter and I really had our doubts whether she would be able to breathe comfortably without the ventilator… Well, I am disappointed in myself for not giving Emily her credit due. She is so determined to get well. In fact, her first words out of her mouth were, “I want to go home.

“Emily has amazed all the medical staff here at Maine Medical and her own parents. She told us this morning, that today was the day she was going to get up and walk around … we shall see about that. Right now our goal today is to wean her off the pain medication,” she wrote.

“I washed and brushed her hair today, put her hair in her infamous ponytail and saw my beautiful little girl as we all know and love her. This time last week I thought that would never happen! Emily asked if she could read through her cards today. She will soon see all your prayers, blessings and well wishes that you have all been feeling and were able to put on paper. Peter and I cannot thank you enough.”

Anyone who wishes to make a donation may send it to: Lebanon Rescue Department; Attn: Emily Fund; 323 Depot Road; Lebanon, ME 04027. Checks may be made out to: Peter Malewitz or to Lebanon Rescue. Cash donations can be dropped off at Trains Quick Stop.

The Rescue Department has also made arrangements for secure online donations through PayPal at:

Maine Campers Describe Storm as ‘Scary Event’

August 11, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

A wooded road in the Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort near Lebanon, Maine.

A young girl injured Monday (Aug. 9) when a tree fell on her family’s tent during a camping trip to the Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort in Maine is improving following emergency surgery, Foster’s Daily Democrat reported.

Rescue officials did not release the girl’s identity, but WMTW News 8, Portland, said she is Emily Malewitz, of Millis, Mass. She was upgraded from critical to serious condition at Maine Medical Center in Portland, authorities said. She was rushed to the hospital after a tree came down and crushed her family’s car and tent at a campsite during what officials described as a freak storm around 6 p.m. Monday.

On Tuesday, National Weather Service officials visited the town to determine exactly what occurred. Though Lebanon Rescue officials reported witnesses said a funnel-like wind took tree limbs and scattered them everywhere, meteorologist Michael Cempa confirmed Tuesday no tornado or microburst struck the area.

Rather, a thunderstorm featuring straight line winds blowing at 60 mph to the southeast took down numerous trees and branches, Cempa said. The National Weather Service made that determination following interviews with people at the camp and observations of the scene, he said.

Officials described it as a freak storm that came and went in only a few minutes. Flat Rock Bridge Resort owner and General Manager John Hastings said it only took two minutes for the storm to do its damage. A total of six trees fell on the grounds, including those that struck the family’s Toyota minivan and tent. Six people were in the tent at the time, including the girl, her parents and her three siblings, who all sought shelter from the storm. Rescue officials said the children are quadruplets.

Lebanon Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole said Rescue Capt. Alan Therrien arrived on scene within five minutes of the initial call and found two large sections of trees had come down. Cole said the most difficult aspect of the rescue was removing the limbs that hampered access to the tent.

Crews attempted to get a medical helicopter to the scene, but the storm prevented them from coming close. Cole said they instead brought the girl to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H. to be stabilized before rushing her to Maine Medical’s trauma center. The siblings were also treated for minor injuries at Frisbie, he said.

Since no staff members were near the family’s campsite when the trees came down, Hastings said other campers were the first to reach the scene. He said the campers helped stabilize the girl before rescue crews arrived.

“It was a fluke storm. We didn’t know it was coming,” he said, adding he has never seen anything like it in six years of running the resort.

Evan Coffey was one of the campground’s employees who responded to the scene. Though he said it was a scary sight, he added it was nice to see a group of strangers rally to provide assistance.

“The scene was scary,” he said. “Two minutes of really strong wind. That was all it took.”

Cole credited the actions of camp employees, noting the Rescue Department has trained with them for emergencies. He said 60 to 70 people were crowded around the scene when rescue crews arrived and the employees did a good job of clearing space and keeping onlookers at a distance.

“The staff at the campground did an exceptional job,” he said.

For Cole and other emergency personnel, the scene was painful due to the patient’s age. It was clear right away her injuries were critical and life threatening, he said, noting she was pinned under the tree for an estimated 10 minutes and lost consciousness for a time.

“It really puts (things) in perspective when you see a little girl the same age as yours and she’s seriously hurt,” he said, adding crews were touched when they brought the girl’s siblings to the campground’s store and all they wanted to buy was a stuffed animal for their sister. “That hits home when you see the children all give up things for themselves to help their sister,” he said.

Those at the campgrounds on Monday said it was a beautiful afternoon and the storm ripped through with little warning. Hastings was preparing for a camp activity; others were just setting up their campsites and had to dodge flying debris; and still others were preparing dinner and had little time to react to the quick moving storm.

On Tuesday, campers described it as a scary event, but said it would not deter them from enjoying the outdoors.

“That’s not going to stop us from camping. We’ve been camping for years,” said Barbara Johnson, of Shrewsbury, Mass. “It will make us be more careful when a storm’s coming.”

Johnson said she and her husband, Ed, were cooking dinner when the storm hit. She was trying to boil water when the pan starting bouncing. Her husband was yelling to her, but she could not hear him because the wind was so loud, she said.

“It was raining, then all of a sudden it was just pouring,” said Ed Johnson, adding the winds ripped the awning off his camper.

They extended their sympathy and best wishes to the Malewitz family, as did Jim Craven and his family, of Munson, Mass. Craven was also on the grounds when the storm hit.

“The wind came whipping out,” he said. The white birch trees near his camper were bent over and he struggled to hold his awning in place during the short storm. “It was a heck of a wind storm.”

Rescue crews checked around the 350-site campground, but found no other injuries. All units cleared the scene at 10 p.m. Responding to the scene were Lebanon Rescue, Lebanon Emergency Management officials, York County Emergency Management, a Milton ambulance and Frisbie crews.

A posting on Lebanon Rescue’s Facebook page indicated officials spoke with the girl’s family and she appeared to be in stable condition. Doctors told the family she was “extremely lucky,” the post said.