Toddler fighting for life after common household item explodes

·3-min read

A toddler is fighting for life after suffering severe burns to almost half of his tiny body in a house fire in Victoria.

Two-year-old Elijah Whitton was in the laundry room on his home in Mildura when it’s believed the tumble-dryer malfunctioned, causing an explosion on May 1.

While authorities are still investigating the blaze, it’s believed the flames were further fuelled by a nearby jerry can full of petrol.

Elijah’s older sister, Miranda Whitton, 23, said her brother’s left leg was still on fire when his mother pulled him out.

Two-year-old Elijah Whitton in a coma at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne
A two-year old boy is being treated at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne for burns to 42 percent of his body after a blaze broke out in the laundry of his family home in Mildura. Source: Miranda Whitton

“Elijah was in the actual room where the fire occurred in the house, which caused him to catch on fire,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“He then ran out with his left leg still in flames.

“By this time, our mum grabbed and helped him get further out of the fire, and then got water from the tap outside to put out the fire on his leg.”

Miranda said the family believes the tumble-dryer "malfunctioned", and confirmed a jerry can was nearby and possibly added to the "severity" of the blaze.

The burnt out tumble-dryer
It is believed that a tumble-dryer malfunctioned, causing the blaze that destroyed the family home in Mildura. Source: Alyia Whitton

Emergency services airlifted the little boy to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in a critical condition with burns to 42 per cent of his body.

He was placed in an induced coma and rushed in for wound debridement – a procedure to remove dead tissue – and has since undergone several surgeries to stabilise him.

Miranda describes her little brother as one of the cheekiest, happiest and smartest kids you’ll ever come across.

“He’s got such a beautiful and bright personality and he could light up a room,” she told Yahoo News.

“He loves music and dancing and overall is such a sweet little guy who will never fail to make you laugh.”

Elijah Whitton and his sister Miranda Whitton
Miranda Whitton said her 'sweet' little brother has suffered burns to 42 per cent of his body. Source: Miranda Whitton

On Thursday, the two-year-old will undergo a further wound debridement, but Miranda said doctors are happy with how well he is doing.

“While he still has a few more surgeries ahead of him, he is making amazing progress and recovering at an amazing rate.”

Elijah Whitton (front right) with his family
Miranda Whitton said her little brother has such a beautiful and bright personality and that he could light up a room. Source: Miranda Whitton

Funds flowing in for little Elijah

In the wake of the tragedy, Elijah’s other sister, Alyia, 19, has started a Go Fund Me page to raise money for his medical bills and recovery.

“Elijah is considered a trauma patient and we have been told that it is only the beginning of his journey to recovery,” she wrote.

With an original target of $15,000, more than $20,000 has already been raised.

In a post on Facebook she praised those who’ve donated.

“It’s incredible to see that people from all over Australia have contributed to Elijah’s fight to recovery,” she said.

“We are extremely appreciative and thankful for all the love and support we are receiving, and we ask if Elijah can be kept in all of your thoughts and prayers.”

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