VERNDALE, Minn. — A call has gone out for more prayers for a mother and daughter in critical condition after a house fire last week in Verndale, Minn.
Liberty Schultz was injured trying to rescue her daughter from a burning upstairs bedroom just after 9:30 p.m. April 7. Schultz, who suffered inhalation injuries and burns, and has a lot of recovering to do.
"She is anxiously awaiting for her throat injury to heal so she can get her tubes removed. Keep Praying!" according to an online update from Schultz's family.
Recovery is much more difficult for 22-month old Alaina, according to her grandmother.
"Alaina is still in VERY CRITICAL condition. She is still on a ventilator, very sick, currently going through a series of surgeries to remove her burns," according to grandmother Karen Schultz, Liberty's mother. "Alaina is sedated on a ventilator dealing with third degree burns on 79% of her body, according to her grandmother.
"The medical team is doing everything they can to keep her alive," Karen Schultz said. She said the child nearly died twice after a drop in oxygen levels.
Alaina has had two surgeries already to remove burns from her body. More surgeries are scheduled throughout the week in an effort to remove all the burned skin within a week.
"The only part that didn't get affected is basically her feet," Schultz said in the update. It's a miracle she's alive."
The grandmother also suffered some injuries in trying to get both her daughter and granddaughter out of the home. She said she's still coughing from inhaling the smoke last week. Her hair was also burned in the flames. She remains with her daughter and granddaughter during their stay, while her husband continues to work to support the family.
Liberty's time of recovery is unknown right now. Alaina is expected to be recovering at the Hennepin County Medical Center for eight months. She is relying on the hospital's largest ventilator, Karen Schultz said. Both Liberty and Alaina are sedated to help them from the painful burns on their bodies.
"We need all the prayers, especially for Alaina," Karen Schultz said. "Prayers matter the most to us right now."
The family also lost their belongings in the fire. Funds are now being raised to support them on the Facebook page Liberty and Alaina Love, or through Jordyn Reisenauer at 218-640-0563.
The fire was reported at about 9:42 p.m. April 7 at the home at 406 NW Brown St. in Verndale. Wadena County deputies, officers from the Wadena Police Department and the Verndale Fire Department responded to the scene and observed flames at an upstairs window, where the child was reported to be, according to a Wadena County Sheriff's Office news release. Several attempts were made to find the child but heat and smoke made the area inaccessible.
Finally, firefighters were able to gain access through an upstairs window. A short time later, Alaina was found and taken by ambulance to Tri-County Hospital. She was later flown to Hennepin County Medical Center, which has a specialized burn unit.
It's believed Alaina was just feet from the fire and remained near the fire for about 10 minutes, according to her grandmother.
Liberty was also taken to Tri-County Hospital by ambulance. She attempted to go upstairs to find Alaina, but was unsuccessful.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. It started shortly after Liberty left the upstairs room where Alaina was sleeping alone.