Post courtesy of MiracleChild.org
Location: Millington, TN
Date Of Injury: November 2003
On Thursday, November 20th, 2003, around one P.M., John and Joanna Quinn were playing in the goat shed in the back yard of their home in Millington, TN. There was a make shift hay loft made with a 4’X 8’ sheet of plywood nailed to 2X4 supports. The goat’s bedding filled with straw was underneath. There were ten bails of hay stacked on top. John liked to play in the hay. John had a little room in the hay and being a four year old he had a lot of fun there. There was no electricity in the goat shed so Joanna thought it would be nice to have some candles to give them some light. Joanna being seven years old did not realize her mistake.
Busy playing, Joanna knocked over the candle. The goats bedding caught fire very quickly. Joanna ran to a small plastic swimming pool to get a glass of water hoping she could put out the fire. She wasted precious time. John was in the hay loft screaming for help. The flames were up into the hay with John. Joanna ran screaming to the house, 80 feet from the shed, to get her sister Leah who was baby sitting for us that day. The very moment she heard Joanna’s cries, “Johnny is in the fire,” she bolted out the door racing to the shed already blazing.
Leah spoke of the horror that filled her soul as she heard John’s screams coming from the fire. Leah rushed in to the shed, closing her eyes and holding her breath as she searched for John. Her lungs become desperate she runs out for air. Looking through the flames she saw a glimpse of John just as he collapsed into the fire. Leah rushed in again with eyes closed and with another breath. She reached John finally. She frantically tried to pull him down from the four foot high hay loft. For some reason he was much heavier than his normal 40 pounds. Out of breath again she had to run out without John. Knowing where he was, Leah quickly grabbed another breath and plunged into the inferno the third time. Getting a good hold on him she dragged him off the loft and both fell backwards into the fire. Leah with one arm held John to her side and on one hand and knees crawled quickly out of the fire. John was unconscious and smoldering. Leah called upon God, “Please make him breathe.” John came back to life. Leah grabbed John in her arms and rushed to the house placing John in the bath tub as she ran cold water over him.
The fire men and paramedics arrived and took over. That is when Leah realized how severely she was burned. She saw the skin melt off both of her hands. She said that she was stinging over her face, arms, hands, and back. Leah received third degree burns on both hands and forearms, second degree burns covered her face and third degree burns spotted the sides of her face. Places on her back were badly burned and she lost the tops of her ears. Leah spent two days in the Med Burn Unit in Memphis, TN. She was sent home to wait a few days for her surgery. She returned to the hospital for five days undergoing many skin graphs. She returned a few months later for another surgery keeping her another five days. After much therapy, Leah has regained most of her mobility. She lost parts of her fingers on her left hand and will only have 90-95% mobility. Leah does not consider herself a hero but we certainly do. She saved our son John Daniel’s life. There is not a question about that. She risked her life three times to save John.
John Daniel was air lifted to the Lebonneur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. We were told he would not survive the day. However, the Shriners flew a special burn team from Galveston, Texas. They were able to stabilize him and fly him to the Galveston Shriners Children’s Burns Hospital. He was in the intensive care unit for seven months. John was burned over 95% of his body with third and forth degree burns. The 5% that was not burned was his lower abdomen to the tops of his thighs. The doctors were able to harvest enough skin from this donor spot to cover his back and chest. This 5% donor spot saved his life. He has artificial skin on his arms and legs.
John’s dog, Max, perished in the fire. The doors were wide open to the shed and Max could have run out at anytime. He weighted approximately 40 pounds. John could not have held him if he wanted to get away. Leah and I believe Max stayed with John until the end. John was holding onto Max when Leah first tired to pull him off the fiery loft. We believe Max’s body shielded this vital spot of John’s body from the flames.
John lost his scalp, ears, his eyebrows, his eyelids, nose, lips, all of his fingers, both thumbs, all his toes on his left foot and parts of his toes on his right foot. The repeated harvesting of his donor spots leaves John horrible scared over his entire body.
We are not overcome with this great tragedy, but fully trusting in Jesus Christ to supply our every need. He was faithful before the tragedy and will surely be until the end. We pray this story of a sister’s love will be sufficient to show our beloved Leah is our special, very special, little 5 foot 2 inch, 105 pound gigantic hero.