Story #1 of the burn family-Guechenet

We wanted to begin sharing with you the stories of the burn family that so many of you have asked about.   There were six children that were burned and one adult.  One of the girls died the next day.  Currently, RHFH is caring for four of the children as inpatients.  The adult and one child are staying in the village and come each day for outpatient dressing changes.


There was a death in the family (an elderly man) the night of the fire.  The family all lives in a cluster of  homes close together.  They opened one of the homes to receive visitors throughout the night during the wake.  The kids had been up most of the day helping clean and prepare for the visitors.  They were tired, so the group of cousins all went to one house to sleep for the night.  One of the mothers of the children wanted to light an oil lamp to put by the door in case the kids needed to see in the dark home.  She went to light the lamp and there was some spilled kerosene beside it.  It caught on fire and caught the container the kerosene was stored in on fire too.  She hit the container, by accident,  into the house and it caught on fire.


This is Guechenet story.  (6 yrs old)  The older kids were asleep on the bed.  He and his smaller brother were sleeping on the floor on a banana mat.  He remembers hearing his mother’s voice outside the house before he fell asleep talking to those that were attending the wake.  The next thing he remembers hearing is screaming and yelling that the house was on fire.  The bed where the other kids were at was on fire.  He got his little brother up and tried to get out of the house.  There were 2 doors to the house, one was in the front and one in the back.  The front door was on fire and  they could not get out.  He could hear people screaming and trying to get to them.  The back door was locked from the inside and they were trying to break the door in.  Many houses here in Haiti have tin roof.  Many do not have places to store clothes, bags and other item, so they hang lots of items from the rafters of the roofs.  These items began catching on fire and falling around them.  He could hear his mama crying and hear his dad saying that he was trying to get to them.  His feet & legs were on fire and he grabbed a rag to try to put the fire out.  The door was broke down and his mama got to them first.  She grabbed both of them and ran out of the house (without getting burned).  Those attending the wake had ran and gathered water and were trying to put out the fire.  They poured water on him.

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Once all the kids got out of the house, the family had to come up with a plan.  Several of the men were chosen to carry the kids down to the clinic.  It was around 8pm then and they arrived at the clinic at 1am.  These strong adults somehow carried the kids that were so severely burned down the mountain path during the night.  They said the moon helped them.  After a few hours of walking, it began to rain.  They continued to walk, taking turns carrying the kids.  It was not easy on anyone.  The walk in the day light is hard and goes up and down the mountains.  They did this at night, in the rain, carrying kids that were screaming in pain with severe deep burns.

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Guechenet is beginning to heal. He likes to sit with his legs up (because they don’t hurt so much) and watch the “box”  (TV).  It is a good distraction for him.  He has deep wounds on his legs and hands.  His younger brother is also here with us.  His mama and 3 month old sister (who is breastfeeding) is staying with us as well.  🙂  So, he has lots of people to keep him company.  We are glad his mama is able to be here with him to help him through this painful time in his life.


  1. Tanja Dwire says

    I was with a group that visited RHFH on July 4th. I have asked many of my friends and family to pray for these burn victims, as well as you who are caring for them. Thank you for the update, I think about them daily and pray for them continually.
    God Bless you,

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