UPDATE: Recovery slows, surgeries increase for girl burned in bonfire


The 14-year-old Fort Pierce girl burned on more than 95 percent of her body during a New Year’s Eve bonfire “doesn’t have an ounce of quit in her,” despite new complications in her recovery, her mother said in a recent Facebook post.

Leigh Chesney will be required to undergo surgery every other day for several weeks in order to treat skin infections on her arms and legs, according to a post by her mother on the public Facebook page “Pray for Layne Chesney.”

Girl, 14, burned by bonfire ‘bright spot’ on softball team

Layne had surgery on her chest and arms Monday and is scheduled for another procedure on her lower extremities Wednesday, her mother wrote.

“The aggressive surgeries combined with her antibiotic regime should keep infection under control,” Leigh Ann Chesney wrote.

Layne is hospitalized at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami-Dade County.

The girl 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. 

A student at Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce and a softball standout, Layne was heavily sedated for weeks afterward, but she began communicating verbally toward the end of January.

On her most recent post, Leigh Ann Chesney wrote that Layne will begin receiving grafts of her own harvested skin “as quickly as possible” after it’s received on March 23. 

For now, the girl is receiving donor skin because “her own skin will not take to infected areas,” Leigh Ann Chesney explained.

Layne’s lack of sleep has been a cause of concern for her doctors.

“She needs all the strength she can get to fight off infections and endure continuous surgeries,” her mother said.

Leigh Ann Chesney said that Layne’s recovery is now likely to take longer than was first expected, “but we know she’ll eventually get her happy ending.”

GoFundMe account created to help Layne’s family pay for her care has raised nearly $57,000.


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