5-year-old girl recovering after falling into bonfire

Mackenzie Plocinski is part tomboy, part girly-girl rolled into one ball of energy.

But it may be a while before “Izzie,” as she’s called by friends, will be digging in the dirt or playing dress-up with her dolls.

The 5-year-old Golden Gate Estates girl suffered third-degree burns on her right hand and second-degree burns on her leg and thigh Sunday after she tripped and fell into a family bonfire.

“She’s a real tough kid,” said her father Fred Plocinski from her hospital room. But “she does a lot of crying. She’s not real happy (now).”

Mackenzie was standing with her back to the fire, around which is a ring of stones was placed to keep people a safe distance from the pit, said Plocinski, a Bonita Springs firefighter.

Both Mackenzie and her 7-year-old brother Logan are well versed in fire safety. Their dad tells them all the time about the damage fire can cause.

But somehow the girl stepped back and tripped over one of the stones and caught her body in the flames.

It’s a story the child still doesn’t like to hear. She asked her dad to stop talking about it and he left her hospital room to discuss the details.

Mackenzie had to be taken to NCH North Naples Hospital by ambulance as the helicopter was down. She was later flown to the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Burn Center where she will stay for at last a week.

“Every day she has to have a shower and scrub down the hand and change each finger’s bandages every day, twice a day,” Plocinski said. “All the pain medicine in the world doesn’t help with that.”

Doctors think skin grafts may not be necessary. They are hopeful the girl’s resilient immune system will heal the burns naturally.

Plocinski, who is also the Palmetto Ridge High School boys’ lacrosse coach, called his friend and former coach of the girls team, Kim Ellis, with the news.

“It’s just very sad,” Ellis said. “It’s tough on Logan, her brother, because Mom’s at the hospital with Izzie and Dad has to drive back and forth because he works full time.”

Mackenzie’s grandparents have flown in to help where they can.

Ellis is trying to raise money for the family who is expecting a barrage of costly medical bills from the trauma center and ambulance and helicopter transports.

“The biggest thing I know we need right now are prayers,” Plocinski said. “Down the road when the bills come in, that’s what I’m worried about. I don’t have anything in savings with the economy so wrecked.”

The Palmetto Ridge girls’ lacrosse team will be holding a car wash this weekend at E’s General Store at the intersection of Oilwell and Immokalee roads.

Ellis is hopeful Mackenzie’s outcome continues to look good.

“I know her and she’s just a little spitfire,” Ellis said. “She’ll be fine, but it’s going to be a long process to get her hand where it needs to be.”

Connect with Tara E. McLaughlin at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tara-mclaughlin/

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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