Family Speaks About Blaze That Killed Woman, Injured 6 Year Old

Jul 25, 2019, 10:47 PM | Updated: Jul 26, 2019, 5:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A 6-year-old boy is recovering at the burn center at University of Utah Hospital after he was injured in a house fire that claimed his grandmother’s life and injured his father and two first responders.

“He’s got second-degree burns on his face—his left side of his face and his ear—down his shoulder and chest, his left arm, on his waist and top of his right foot and the thumb of his right hand,” said the boy’s aunt, Cherokee Martinez.

The O’Meara family awoke to smoke and flames around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday. Mom, dad, two sons (ages 6 and 9) and the boys’ grandmother worked to escape the log cabin home located off of 13800 South and about 500 East in Draper.

The grandmother, whose bedroom was an open loft, alerted the rest of the family to the danger.

“She was screaming at them telling everyone, my sister and my brother-in-law, that there was a fire in the house,” Martinez said.

Martinez said her brother-in-law picked up his younger son and tried the closest exit.

“The house was on fire and so his first instinct was get my kids out,” she said. “He opened up the front door to get out and the fire came in at them.”

While the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, the Draper Fire Department said it started on the front porch and was able to grow in size and intensity before being discovered.

The father went out a back door and then helped his two sons and wife crawl out a bedroom window. Once they were outside, they realized the grandmother didn’t make it out of the burning home. Her adult son tried to save her.

“He was dousing himself with the hose and running back in to find her,” Martinez said. “He went in three different times to look for her.”

The fire department said an autopsy revealed that 61-year-old Shelly O’Meara died from smoke inhalation.

“She is a hero,” Martinez said. “She saved my sister, she saved my brother-in-law, she saved my nephew.”

Martinez said her brother-in-law was treated at the emergency room for burns to his hands. A police officer and firefighter were also treated and released for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, according to fire chief Clint Smith.

Doctors will make a determination in the coming days if the 6-year-old boy will require skin grafts, Martinez said.

GoFundMe account has been set up to assist the O’Meara family.

“They ran out with nothing but the pajamas they were wearing,” the GoFundMe account says.

“He was a trooper when it came to changing his dressings today,” read an update on the GoFundMe account page about the 6-year-old boy. “He is a brave, strong warrior.”


*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Family Speaks About Blaze That Killed Woman, Injured 6 Year Old