FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Family and friends describe 14-year-old Layne Chesney as an avid softball player already in the sights of college scouts. Now, the South Florida teen is in critical condition after a fire on New Year’s Eve.
Layne was roasting marshmallows during a bonfire at a friend’s house in Fort Pierce, Florida, when a gas can exploded. She was immediately “engulfed in flames,” her mother Leigh Chesney told WFOR.
Layne’s friend, Hunter Holmes, and his parents, Robert and Stephanie Holmes attempted to put out the fire and sustained burns, Chesney family friend Michelle McGee Felix told CNN. Despite the Holmes’ efforts, more than 95 percent of Layne’s body was severely burned.
“Everything was burned except for the bottom of her feet,” Felix told CNN.
A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office incident report states that Layne was “covered with blankets and towels” when deputies arrived.
Robert Holmes attempted to keep the Lincoln Park Academy ninth-grader “moist and cool” with water from a hose. Despite her severe injuries, Layne was able to tell deputies her mother’s name and phone number.
Felix told CNN that Layne was stabilized at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce. She was later airlifted to Kendall Medical Center in Miami, where doctors placed her into a medically-induced coma.
Layne has undergone several surgeries, including one that lasted almost eight hours to clear dead skin from her chest and stomach areas, Felix told CNN.
Doctors also are treating Layne for a collapsed lung and a blood clot.
Felix told CNN that Layne’s mother texted her to say Layne will undergo another surgery on Monday and that her daughter’s “face still looks beautiful.”
Leigh Chesney remains hopeful despite doctors telling her they are “doing the best they can” but that “they can’t make any promises.”
“She’s going to have a very difficult, long battle. She’s going to have many setbacks,” Layne’s mother told CNN affiliate WFOR.