Fire caused by lantern fluid burns teen

August 06, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A 15-year-old Anne Arundel County boy using lantern fluid to treat his poison ivy was critically injured yesterday when the fumes ignited, burning him and his Brooklyn Park home.

Joseph Lickman, who lives in the rowhouse in the 200 block of Southerly Road, about one mile from the city line, suffered first- and second-degree burns over 85 percent of his body.

He was flown by Maryland State Police MedEvac helicopter to the burn unit at Francis Scott Key Medical Center in Baltimore, where he was listed in critical condition last night, a hospital spokeswoman said. No one else was injured.

Capt. Gary Sheckells, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel fire department, said that the boy was in the basement rubbing the kerosene-based fluid on his legs and had left the opened can and a soaked rag near a gas heater.

The pilot light on the heater ignited fumes from the can and rag, injuring the boy and setting the basement ablaze, Captain Sheckells said.

Lickman ran upstairs screaming, and his stepfather, John Salisbury, helped him from the house. A neighbor called the fire department about 4:45 p.m. The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes.

Captain Sheckells said the basement was severely burned and the first floor was damaged. He estimated property damage at $7,000. The residence is owned by George Tabak of Millersville.

Captain Sheckells said he does not know if it is common to treat poison ivy with lantern fluid.

"It's a new one on me," he said. "Everybody has their own home remedy."

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