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Boy stable after fire

by F.T. Norton

Douglas County investigators are trying to determine if a 14-year-old boy was intentionally set on fire Thursday as he siphoned gasoline from a 55-gallon drum.

The boy, Ky Nielsen, was reported in stable condition Friday at Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento.

The teenager was with “several juveniles” at a ranch near the intersection of highways 208 and 395 north of Topaz Lake about 1 p.m. Thursday when he was burned possibly attempting to siphon gasoline from the drum, according to Sgt. Tom Mezzetta of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

Mezzetta said about four hours later the boy was taken by private car to Carson Valley Medical Center in Gardnerville, which notified the sheriff’s department. He was then flown by helicopter to the University of California Medical Center at Davis.

“From what I understand, his chest area and his hands were burned and only about 2 to 3 percent of that is third-degree burns; the remaining would be second-degree,” Mezzetta said. Third-degree burns are the most serious.

Douglas County detectives were in Sacramento on Friday to interview the boy and fire investigators went to the Topaz ranch where the accident happened.

“Just due to the nature of the injuries we will investigate,” Mezzetta said. “We’re not sure how the fire started. It could have been a spark or someone could have started it.”

Members of the Carson Valley Sertoma Club plan to set up an account in the boy’s name.

Sertoma Chairman George Liddell said although Ky’s medical expenses will be covered by Shriners Hospital, his mother can still use financial help from the community while she is out of work and by his side in Sacramento.

“From what I understand she is a beautician and a single mother,” Liddell said. “When somebody in our community needs help, we jump on it.”

Liddell said the account should be set up by next week.

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.