Nicole Foltz, a mother of five, died tragically three days after suffering burns on most of her body after a gruesome firepit accident in her backyard, according to multiple reports.
She was only 38 years old.
She and her husband, Jeff Foltz, had initially started the fire to keep bugs away in their home in Pinellas County, Florida, according to reports.
“I had just gone inside and to my knowledge, she decided to try to keep the fire going, keep the fun going, and she put another log on it and there wasn’t much flame at all,” Jeff Foltz told FOX 13 Tampa.
“But, she just — I guess felt to pour a little gas on it, and it would reignite, and it did. I guess it must’ve traveled the gas stream up to the gas can, and it exploded in her hands,” he also said.
The explosion struck the family’s 11-year-old son as well.
Mother and son were both transported to Tampa General Hospital.
Foltz said the boy has second-degree burns on close to 40% of his body. He was hospitalized for 12 days — and returned home recently.
“Fires involving home heating equipment represent the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths.”
“Fires involving home heating equipment represent the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths — with nearly half of all home heating fires occurring in December, January and February,” Susan McKelvey, communications manager of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Quincy, Massachusetts, told Fox News Digital.
“Also, people’s risk [of] home fires does increase during the holiday season, when people are doing lots of cooking — the leading cause of U.S. home fires — and decorating with candles and electrical equipment,” she also said.
Read on for some important fire management safety tips.
Do you need a permit?
Check with the local fire department or municipality regarding any restrictions before starting a recreational fire.
Make sure a permit is not required, the NFPA recommends.
Keep 10 feet away
“Remember to avoid placing a firepit too close to your home and always have a source of water nearby when using it,” Craig Hare, Pinellas County’s director of EMS & Fire Administration, told Fox News Digital.
Homeowners should place the firepit at least 10 feet from anything that can burn, per NFPA.
They should also avoid placing it under low-hanging branches or under any overhanging eaves of their home, according to NFPA’s website.
Check the weather
On very windy days, don’t use the firepit because the wind can make it more difficult to light the kindling.
The wind can also blow sparks into nearby structures and vegetation, which can lead to a fire, according to Bob Vila’s website, an expert home renovation website.
Before starting a fire, always be mindful of the wind’s direction.
Always be mindful of the wind direction before starting a fire. Place the seating area on the upwind side of the pit to avoid the smoke, the website added.
“If you have a portable firepit, consider moving it to a location with a natural windbreak — before you light the fire,” according to the website.
Create a kid-free zone
When using a firepit, create a three-foot zone around the area where kids are not allowed, the NFPA added.
“It also is very easy for both children and adults to fall into a firepit,” Hare said.
“Falling into a firepit causes severe burns, so it is important to always have a barrier between the firepit and people.”
It’s also tempting to get a little too close to the fire, experts caution — but this is when clothes and hair can catch fire.
They recommend keeping chairs a safe distance away.
“Never pour a flammable liquid on a fire, as it can be explosive and deadly.”
Homeowners or visitors should roll up their sleeves and make sure their hair is tied back when close to the flame.
Never, ever use gasoline
Before staring the fire, check the manufacturer’s instructions for fuel usage and only use what is recommended, according to the NFPA.
Hare reminds everyone “to never pour a flammable liquid on a fire, as it can be explosive and deadly.”
He added, “While some commonly do this with charcoal lighter fluid or gas, it is extremely dangerous.”
Know what not to burn
Avoid using soft woods, such as pine or cedar, which can pop or throw sparks, experts say.
Also, people should not use paper or magazines as kindling because they can lead to excessive smoke and release harmful toxins from the adhesive or ink, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Certain foliage, such as poison ivy, oak or green leafy branches can cause lung irritation, so they should be avoided, the association added.
And always remember to never leave the fire unattended.
Make sure the fire is fully out
When it’s time to put the fire out, always make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area.
“Apply water to all coals or remaining flames,” the NFPA said on its website.
“Stir with a stick and pour more water” on it, in order to confirm “there is no heat, glow or flame remaining.”
McKelvey of Quincy, Massachusetts added, “We offer a wealth of information and resources for safely enjoying the holiday season at www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Winter-holidays.”
Danielle Wallace of Fox News Digital contributed reporting.