Location: Louisiana

Date Of Injury: February 2004

Hello, my name is Devante Turner. I am 23 years old and this is my burn story.

When I was 11, I lived with someone that was addicted to crack/cocaine. He was high one night in 2004, upset with me, poured gasoline on my shirt and set me on fire.

My story begins in New Orleans Louisiana. In February 2004, my life changed. From a positive aspect, my life then took a huge turn that ultimately blessed me. In February 2004, I was burned. And the man that I then called my stepfather would be the one to change my life forever.

When I first met Greg, he was probably one of the best male role models I had met at that time or at least I thought. Greg took me wherever he went. Whenever I was out of school and he had to work I was there with him. But everything started to change once we moved in with him.

My mother worked at a casino in New Orleans at the time so it was just Greg and myself at the house during the night. One particular night, Greg asked me to go to his friend’s house. He gave me an envelope with a CD in it and money. His friend took the envelope and then gave it back to me with the CD in it but the money was not. There was what I assumed to be a small rock inside of the envelope.

As time went on, I did notice that whenever my mom went to work, Greg would become a totally different person. He would sweat a lot and mumble nonsense throughout the night. He also paced back-and-forth throughout the house. There was one particular night when I was cleaning the kitchen, I poured grease down the sink which clogged up the pipes in the house. Greg was upset and he asked me why I did it. My reply was that I did not know that the oil would clog the pipes. So he began to throw things on me like hot wax and then told me that the next time I got into trouble, it would be much worse.

A week later I was in my room watching TV. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was watching boy meets world on Disney channel, my mother was in her room on the computer and Greg was in the bathroom getting high on crack. He came out and asked me once again why I poured grease down the sink and I told him that I did not know. He then went into the shed behind the house and grabbed the gasoline canister, came back into the house and grabbed a barbecue lighter. He came into my room and poured gasoline on my shirt as I was laying in my bed. After he poured the gasoline on me, he told me that he would not really do it but before I knew it, I saw nothing but flames.

I did not go to the hospital until days later and when I went, he told me to tell the doctors and nurses that I was burned from a pot of boiling water. I received third-degree burns on my upper right arm, my chest, my neck and also my lower face so I spent weeks in the hospital. My mother spent all of that time in the hospital with me but Greg did not come at all. When I got out of the hospital he was still doing his drugs.

I ran away from home and went to a friend’s house. I ultimately ended up reuniting with my biological father and brothers and sisters that I did not know I had. I experienced this at the age of 11 and I am now 22 years old. This experience in my life has brought great turmoil, resentment towards my mother, and sadness to my life. But all of that, has made me a better person.

I do not believe that I would be the person that I am today had I not gone through that experience. It has brought me closer to God. I do not believe that God has put me through this experience for no reason at all. I will do what I can to change someone’s life even if it is just one. God has blessed me with great friends and family and that is why I am still here. I am married and I have a child that I can share my experience with. God has blessed me to be able to share this experience with you all and I thank you for allowing me to share this with you. I hope and pray that this touches someone else.

Thank you.