Hidden fire pit: Anger as toddler burned
FAMILY and friends won't soon forget the distressing screams from a Bundaberg toddler as she stepped onto a smouldering fire, hidden by sand, but still dangerously hot.
Elaina Stephens, 15 months, was flown to Brisbane to see specialists after suffering burns to her feet, leg and hand.
The toddler's aunty, Shelli Monro, said the distressing incident happened just 20 minutes after the group of family and friends arrived at the sandy area at Cedars Crossing for an afternoon of fishing and outdoors fun.
But it soon turned into a nightmare.
Ms Munro said the fire pit was covered with sand and gravel, but except for a few ashes scattered around, there was nothing to indicate, especially to a young child, how dangerously hot the ground was.
"Something must have caught her eye and she wondered over to that area, and then she just screamed," Ms Monro said.
"It burnt her feet, to get them away from the heat she must have fallen over and she's put her hands down on the sand."
Ms Monro said friend Russell Campbell was the closest to Elaina. He ran, grabbed Elaina and put her in the water, where she stayed until paramedics arrived.
A Queensland Ambulance Services spokeswoman confirmed paramedics were called to South Bingera about 2.30pm on Sunday to help the little girl, treating her burns and administering pain relief as they drove her to Bundaberg Hospital.
"The ambulance officers were amazing," Ms Monro said.
"They were so comforting and kept her calm."
Ms Monro said Elaina spent Sunday night in Bundaberg Hospital before she was flown to Brisbane with mum Sara-Jane Murnane yesterday morning. Yesterday they were waiting to find out how much treatment, and if surgery, was required.
Ms Monro said watching her niece suffer was incredibly traumatic and the whole incident was hard to talk about.
"It was difficult, they had to sedate her to pop the blisters," she said.
"But she's a tough little cookie."
In an emotional post on social media, family member Samantha Taihn slammed whoever left the fire without making sure the ground was no longer hot to touch.
A video shared alongside of photos of the toddler in hospital showed the ground bubbling and boiling after water was poured on the site.
"To the a--hole who thought it was a good idea to leave your inproperly (sic) extinguished fire on the beach at Cedars Crossing, congratulations there's an 18-month-old in the hospital with second degree burns," the post read.
"Covering a fire with dirt and beach gravel doesn't extinguish it.
"What an absolute low life. I hope you are so proud of yourself."
The post went on to warn others, especially parents of young children about potentially hidden dangers.
"Parents be absolutely careful when taking your kids to the beach some people are completely moronic inconsiderate cretins," it said.
"Feel free to share to warn other parents."