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Pontiac family has warning for others after toddler falls into bonfire pit

20-month-old Riley suffering from burns over entire body

DETROIT – A Pontiac family hopes others will learn from their tragedy after their toddler fell into a bonfire pit and was badly burned. 

Marissa Mervyn said her 20-month-old daughter, Riley, was playing in the backyard of her grandparent's home when her grandfather noticed her getting too close to the pit, which was still hot from the night before. 

“He was like, ‘Riley, stop.’ When that happened, she thought he was playing a game and went a little faster. So, without paying attention, she ran right into the bonfire pit, and fell face first," Mervyn said. 

Mervyn said she was at work when she got the worst type of phone call a mother can receive. 

“They said, ‘Riley fell in the bonfire.’ That’s all I heard. I threw the phone down," she said. 

Riley suffered second and third-degree burns to her entire body. She's recovering at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where she is expected to get skin grafts. 

"I really just want everyone to pay attention. Just pay attention. There should be bonfire awareness because it is the season," Mervyn said. 

Anyone who would like to help the family with medical expenses can do so online here. 


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