Johnny and Leah
Thursday, November 20th, 2003, around one P.M.,
John and Joanna Quinn were playing in the goat shed in the
back yard of their home in Millington, TN. There was a make shift hay
loft made with a 4’X 8’ sheet of plywood nailed to 2X4
supports. The goat’s bedding filled with straw was
underneath. There were ten bails of hay stacked on top.
John liked to play in the hay. John had a little room in
the hay and being a four year old he had a lot of fun there.
There was no electricity in the goat shed so Joanna thought
it would be nice to have some candles to give them some
light. Joanna being seven years old did not realize her
playing, Joanna knocked over the candle. The goats bedding
caught fire very quickly. Joanna ran to a small plastic
swimming pool to get a glass of water hoping she could put
out the fire. She wasted precious time. John was in the
hay loft screaming for help. The flames were up into the
hay with John. Joanna ran screaming to the house, 80 feet
from the shed, to get her sister Leah who was baby sitting
for us that day. The very moment she heard Joanna’s cries,
“Johnny is in the fire,” she bolted out the door racing to
the shed already blazing.
spoke of the horror that filled her soul as she heard John’s
screams coming from the fire. Leah rushed in to the shed,
closing her eyes and holding her breath as she searched for
John. Her lungs become desperate she runs out for air.
Looking through the flames she saw a glimpse of John just as
he collapsed into the fire. Leah rushed in again with eyes
closed and with another breath.
She reached John finally.
She frantically tried to pull him down from the four foot
high hay loft. For some reason he was much heavier than his
normal 40 pounds. Out of breath again she had to run out
Knowing where he was, Leah quickly grabbed
another breath and plunged into the inferno the third time.
Getting a good hold on him she dragged him off the loft and
both fell backwards into the fire. Leah with one arm held
John to her side and on one hand and knees crawled quickly
out of the fire. John was unconscious and smoldering. Leah
called upon God, “Please make him breathe.” John came back
to life. Leah grabbed John in her arms and rushed to the
house placing John in the bath tub as she ran cold water
men and paramedics arrived and took over. That is when Leah
realized how severely she was burned. She saw the skin melt
off both of her hands. She said that she was stinging over
her face, arms, hands, and back. Leah received third degree
burns on both hands and forearms,
second degree burns
covered her face and third degree burns spotted the sides of
her face. Places on her back were badly burned and she lost
the tops of her ears. Leah spent two days in the Med Burn
Unit in Memphis, TN.
She was sent home to wait
a few days for her surgery. She returned to the hospital
for five days undergoing many skin graphs. She returned a
few months later for another surgery keeping her another
five days. After much therapy, Leah has regained most of her
mobility. She lost parts of her fingers on her left hand
and will only have 90-95% mobility. Leah does not consider
herself a hero but we certainly do. She saved our son John
Daniel’s life. There is not a question about that. She
risked her life three times to save John.
Daniel was air lifted to the Lebonneur Children’s Hospital
in Memphis. We were told he would not survive the day.
However, the Shriners flew a special burn team from
Galveston, Texas. They were able to stabilize him and fly
him to the Galveston Shriners Children’s Burns Hospital. He was in the
intensive care unit for seven months. John was burned over
95% of his body with third and forth degree burns. The 5%
that was not burned was his lower abdomen to the tops of his
thighs. The doctors were able to harvest enough skin from
this donor spot to cover his back and chest. This 5% donor
spot saved his life. He has artificial skin on his arms and
John’s dog, Max, perished in
the fire. The doors were wide open to the shed and Max
could have run out at anytime. He weighted approximately 40
pounds. John could not have held him if he wanted to get
away. Leah and I believe Max stayed with John until the
end. John was holding onto Max when Leah first tired to
pull him off the fiery loft. We believe Max’s body shielded
this vital spot of John’s body from the flames.
John lost his scalp, ears,
his eyebrows, his eyelids, nose, lips, all of his fingers,
both thumbs, all his toes on his left foot and parts of his
toes on his right foot. The repeated harvesting of his donor
spots leaves John horrible scared over his entire body.
We are not overcome with this
great tragedy, but fully trusting in Jesus Christ to supply
our every need. He was faithful before the tragedy and will
surely be until the end. We pray this story of a sister’s
love will be sufficient to show our beloved Leah is our
special, very special, little 5 foot 2 inch, 105 pound
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