UPDATE: Girl severely burned on New Year’s Eve is ‘awake and alert’


A 14-year-old girl burned on more than 95 percent of her body during a New Year’s Even bonfire appears to be making progress.

Layne Chesney is speaking in full sentences, drinking water and beginning physical therapy, according to her mother.

“Layne is just amazing and a miracle is truly unfolding right before our eyes,” Leigh Ann Chesney, Layne’s mother, posted Monday on a Facebook page devoted to her daughter.

Girl, 14, burned by bonfire called ‘the bright spot on the day’

Layne Chesney was sitting around a bonfire in suburban Fort Pierce on Dec. 31 when she picked up a can of gasoline to fuel the fire. The can exploded in her hands and covered her in flames, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.

Two other people also received burns and were briefly hospitalized.

For weeks after the accident, Layne was heavily sedated, but she began communicating verbally toward the end of January.

When her family arrived Sunday at her room at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami-Dade County, Layne “Got a smile, and she blew us all fish kisses and mouthed ‘Love you’ to all of us,” her mother posted on the “Pray for Layne Chesney” Facebook page.

Layne was “alert and awake” all of Sunday and engaged in a physical therapy session using a tilt table that allowed her to get to a near-standing position.

“It was definitely not in her comfort zone, but she didn’t resist,” Leigh Ann Chesney wrote. “No complaints of pain … ”

On Sunday, Layne passed her “swallow evaluation” and can now have ice and sips of water, her mother said.

“Best day yet!” Leigh Ann Chesney messaged a friend on Facebook.

Since the fire, Layne has endured several surgeries and is scheduled for more while her doctors dealt with concerns about infections. A family friend told CNN that Layne burned every part of her body except the bottom of her feet.

“She is a miracle and I thank God, the doctors, the nurses, and all the staff for all they are doing for Layne,” her mother said.

A GoFundMe account created for Layne has raised more than $55,000 as of Tuesday morning.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

5 things to know about this weekend’s Lake Worth Street Painting Festival
5 things to know about this weekend’s Lake Worth Street Painting Festival

It’s hard to believe that it’s already here! The Lake Worth Street Painting Festival is this weekend, bringing us two days of impressive chalk art in the streets of Downtown Lake Worth.  This art festival features the creations of more than 600 artists of all types, turning the streets into gigantic canvases.  Best of...
Downtown West Palm: 10 awesome things to do on Evernia Street
Downtown West Palm: 10 awesome things to do on Evernia Street

Looking for fun things to do in West Palm Beach? Why not try exploring downtown one street at a time? My roommates and I gave it a shot down Evernia Street and found delicious delights at every stop. The east-to-west road is separated by the West Palm Beach Brightline station, where we started our adventure. We made stops at every open door heading...
THINGS TO DO: Check out Lake Worth’s last bonfire of season on Friday
THINGS TO DO: Check out Lake Worth’s last bonfire of season on Friday

The sun slowly sets over Lake Worth Beach. The fire is hot and crackling. The 74-degree temperature is perfect. “I didn’t even know this was going on,” says Tannvania Stanford, 23, who just wandered onto the beach. “It’s so nice and relaxing we’ll be here for a few hours.” The place: Lake Worth Beach Bonfire...
No mercy from judge, Melgen faces about 20 years when sentenced today
No mercy from judge, Melgen faces about 20 years when sentenced today

Once viewed as merely a pawn in federal prosecutors efforts to go after U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Palm Beach County retinal specialist Dr. Salomon Melgen today is likely to be sent to prison for as long as two decades for bilking Medicare out of $73 million. In an eight-page order released Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra rejected most...
NEW: Authorities seek possible local victims of convicted New York rapist
NEW: Authorities seek possible local victims of convicted New York rapist

Authorities are trying to determine whether a 32-year-old man recently convicted in New York of sexually assaulting two women has victims on the Treasure Coast.  Cameron McDermott of Hempstead, N.Y.,  pleaded guilty this month to charges of rape and sexual abuse. He is scheduled to be sentenced in April and faces 10 years in prison...
More Stories