More than 50 percent of Allen’s body was burned, including third degree burns from her elbows to the tips of her fingers, in a fire that killed her youngest child, Mason Toney, 2, on Saturday.
Allen was staying in a camper in Hogansville with her father and her two sons. She woke Saturday morning and smelled smoke.
“She and the boys were asleep and her father had gone to work,” said Brenda Nishiyama Willis, Allen’s aunt who is fire chief in Riverdale. “She smelled smoke and realized the camper was on fire. She tried to get out through the door, but couldn’t get it open, so she kicked the window out.”
Allen was able to rescue her 3 year old son, Dylan Toney, but when she kicked open the window, oxygen fed the fire, engulfing the camper in flames.
“She went back for the baby, but couldn’t find him. She did everything she could to save him,” said Willis, who began her firefighter career in LaGrange.
It was during her search for 2 year old Mason that Allen received the most severe burns on her hands and forearms. She was flown to Grady Hospital in Atlanta where she remains in critical condition. Dylan Toney spent one night at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
“She got him out, so he just had a little bitty burn,” Willis said.
Allen’s burns will take much longer to heal and rehabilitation will follow.
“She’s going to be here (at Grady Hospital) at least another two weeks. She’s in serious condition,” said Willis. “It’s bad. Every day they take the bandages off and scrape the skin. It’s painful. I have been in the Grady burn unit with my firefighters before, but when it’s your own relative, it’s a lot different. I’m going to take care of her during this recovery and make sure she gets going again.”
Allen was off a ventilator for about 12 hours on Wednesday and was able to tell her family she wants to attend her son’s funeral. Her condition deteriorated and she was put back on a ventilator and back in intensive care.
“They are going to allow me to take her to the funeral, so we’re planning to have it Feb. 11 to give her time to recover more,” Willis said.
The family has set up a trust fund at Bank of America in the name of Jennifer Allen and Dylan Toney. Donations can be made at any Bank of America branch.
Sherri Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 240.