The two-year-old Crestview girl was injured in a Friday night blaze at a Crestview motel
Annie Blanks @DestinLogAnnie
CRESTVIEW — A two-year-old girl has been transferred to a burn center at Shand’s Hospital, a University of Florida facility in Gainesville, following a fire at the motel she was staying at with her family in Crestview over the weekend.
Okaloosa County EMS Director Tracey Vause confirmed Monday the child had been originally taken to North Okaloosa Medical Center for her burns, but was eventually transferred to Shand’s. Her condition was still not known.
The Crestview Fire Department, Crestview Police Department and Okaloosa County EMS responded to the fire at the Hilton Motel, located at 353 West James Lee Blvd., shortly after midnight on Feb. 3. According to the fire department, the blaze began in room 129, the room the girl had been staying in with her family, causing the room and an SUV parked in front of it to sustain “significant damage.”
Crews were able to stop the fire from spreading to other rooms, but several other families living in the motel were displaced. The American Red Cross was dispatched to assist them.
According to a Crestview Police Department incident report, an officer on scene made contact with Christal Ellison, 33, and Antwin Knight, 40, a couple with three young children who had been staying in room 129. Ellison told police she and the children’s father had been asleep with the kids in the room when she woke up to the “fire already engulfing her room.”
Ellison said she grabbed her children and evacuated, but her two-year-old daughter sustained a “small burn on her foot.” Ellison and the officer proceeded to an EMS medic to receive treatment for the injury. The girl was later transported to North Okaloosa Medical Center before being transferred to a Shand’s burn unit in Gainesville.
The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal. However, the officer noted in his report that he was advised to call a woman, whose name was redacted from the report, who had been told that a man was “bragging about setting the fire because he was trying to harm someone that was snitching to the police department.”
The officer noted he tried to contact the man several times but was unsuccessful.
“At this time, I have no information to suspect arson,” the officer wrote in his report. “But (I) recommend this case be forwarded to investigations for follow up with the Fire Marshall and possibly contact (name redacted.)”
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