Burned toddler due to return to Caldwell

Firefighters' fund to help family
Feb. 27, 2013 @ 07:27 AM

Finding a permanent home may be a challenge for James and Kayln Miller and their four children, one of whom is being treated for second-degree burns over 45 percent of his body. One organization aims to provide assistance until they do.

Seventeen-month-old Domanick Miller, the youngest of the Millers' children, is the first in Caldwell County to be assisted by the  Caldwell County Chapter of the N.C. Firefighters' Burned Children’s Fund. The chapter was formed last year through a partnership with the Caldwell County Fire Rescue Association, the Caldwell County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Caldwell County Chapter of Safe Kids, said chapter president Jordan Clark.

The Millers were burned out of their home Feb. 19, when a fire started from either a lava lamp or electric heater near Domanick’s crib. The family got out, but Domanick suffered severe burns on his back and legs. Domanick was taken to Brenner Children’s Hospital’s burn unit in Winston-Salem and has had two surgeries to clean his wounds. More surgery is required, but he is recovering nicely, said his father, James Miller Jr.

“He’s doing good right now,” Miller said Tuesday. “He could be out possibly today or tomorrow .”

After the boy is released from the hospital, Clark will present the family with a pre-paid $500 Visa card, to be used as they see fit.

“We are very pleased to be able to assist this child. We hate to see anything happen,” said Clark, a career firefighter with the City of Hickory and a volunteer firefighter with Gamewell Fire and Rescue. “We need funds to provide more assistance. Jim Landis, president of the Watauga County chapter, has been a great asset to our organization in getting us funded to help Domanick.”

Miller has been splitting his time between his job in Gastonia, the hospital and trying to find a new place for his family to live. A family member has offered to let them stay at her house in Granite Falls, part of which has been converted into an apartment.

Kaylyn Miller has been by Domanick’s bedside since he was admitted, sometimes catching a catnap at the nearby Ronald McDonald House, which provides a “home away from home” for families so they can stay close to their hospitalized child at little or no cost. Two of the children, 3-year-old James and 2-year-old Jacob, have been staying with Kayln’s mother, Renee Watson, at her Gamewell home. The oldest child, 6-year-old Johnny, has been staying with James’ parents, Arona and James Miller.

The outpouring of community support did not go unnoticed by the Miller family, who hopes to one day give back to those who helped out.

“I cannot say enough,” Arona Miller said. “We’ve been here only 10 years. You don’t see this kind of support in big cities. The help has been tremendous. We want to pay it forward when the time comes. I love everybody.”