Ann Hodge and her family are grieving the death of five-year old Kavon Williams. He was sleeping at his grandmother’s home, a duplex, when fire erupted. At 3:30 am, the duplex caught fire. The cause of the fire is not known at this time. Kavon’s siblings and grandmother managed to escape, but young Kavon was trapped. Fire trucks arrived and rescuers ran inside to find him. He was taken to Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The grandmother, Barbara Hodge, and one of Kavon’s siblings had to be treated for inhalation injury at a local hospital. Kavon’s sisters and brothers are staying with relatives presently. Kavon is fondly remembered as a happy little boy preparing to start kindergarten this fall. Our sympathy is extended to the relatives and friends of the Hodge family.
Death related to fire and burns is the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in children between the ages of one and nine years of age. Approximately 3,000 children die a year from burn injuries. House fires are responsible for very lethal injuries and are usually associated with inhalation injuries due to smoke exposure. Approximately 45% of house fire victims die as a result of their complex injuries. Approximately 500 children die in fires annually. Approximately 83, 000 children are treated in emergency departments annually for burn injuries. Death rates are highest in the younger population. Aside from the serious nature of burn injuries, often inhalation injuries complicate the clinical course for burn victims. In fact, burn victims die as a result of inhalation injury. History of fire entrapment leads to a high index of suspicion for inhalation injury. During exposure to fire, the victim inhales toxic fumes that arise from the adjacent environmental agent that is burning. Smoke from combustible items in the environment often cause inhalation injuries to the upper airway and this has a more rapid onset of inflammation. Clues that inhalation injury may have occurred may be found in the mechanism of injury or by listening to the lung sounds. For example, providers will suspect inhalation injury if the burn victim was in a confined space at the time of the trauma.