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Idaho girl recovering after severe injury caused by candle’s open flame

Photo: KSL TV

An Idaho family is urging parents to be extra vigilant with candles and any other open flame after their daughter’s shirt caught fire, leaving her with severe burns.

Tia Simmons says that her 8-year-old daughter Aaliyah was in another room in their home when a candle lit her shirt on fire.

“She got too close to the candle and her whole shirt caught on fire, and it just engulfed her in flames,” Simmons told KSL TV.

Simmons says that from start to finish, it took just 15 seconds for the open flame to cause severe injury.

“For this to happen with just a home candle and not even playing with it or anything like that, people really need to be aware,” Simmons said.

Aaliyah was flown to the University of Utah Hospital on Saturday; Simmons says her stay could be as long as a month. She has already gone through one surgery and will likely need several additional surgeries to fully recover.

Simmons says this whole situation has been extremely trying, compounded by the holiday season.

“On the inside, I’m crushed and torn and trying to hold it all together,” Simmons says. “On the outside I have to make it look like nothing’s wrong.

“The worst thing about this is Christmas is Aaliyah’s favorite time of the year.”

Simmons is hopeful that her daughter will pull through. She’s asking people to send the girl Christmas cards in the hospital.

They have also set up a GoFundMe* account to help with medical costs and expenses related to their unplanned extended stay in Utah.

Cards can be sent to:

Aaliyah Shepard
C/O Customer Service
University of Utah Hospital
50 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84132


*KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.