ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The 2-year-old girl who was pulled from a burning car on Interstate 70 last month, has died from her injuries.
Paisley Ervin suffered third and fourth degree burns to 70 percent of her body after the car she was riding in with her grandparents and 8-year-old brother went up in flames near O’Fallon, Missouri on August 26th.
Jennifer Emo, along with her husband, Brett, and twin daughters, saw the burning car and stopped to help. They parked in front of the burning vehicle on the shoulder, and Emo ran with her husband toward the car to help.
They saw Paisley’s grandparents and brother standing outside the blazing car.
“I asked if anybody was still inside, and to my recollection the grandfather said, ‘There’s a baby inside!'” Emo tells KMOX.
Emo says the grandmother had tried to unbuckle the 2-year-old girl from the car seat, but in the flames had only managed to unbuckle the top part of the five-part harness. The grandparents suffered third-degree burns in the fire.
Emo ran around to the side of the car where the car seat was, and saw the child was no longer in the seat. She was standing on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat surrounded by flames.
“I saw her. I saw her in a split second and to me, it was a no-brainer, because I could see her and I grabbed her,” Emo said. “The flames were blowing in my face, and the smoke was everywhere. The fire should’ve burned me and it didn’t. I mean, it didn’t even burn the hair off my arms. That’s crazy.”
Emo believes her mother and stepmother, who both died in 2015, were protecting her from the flames so she could rescue the child.
Wearing white bandages around her hands, Emo says she suffered only minor burns when she ran away from the car holding the girl, whose clothes were burning. Behind her she could hear the car’s gas tank erupting in flames. She put the girl in the grass to pat out her clothing, and a helicopter rushed her to Mercy Hospital.
Paisley was listed in critical condition for several days, but died of her injuries a week and a half after the crash. Her 8-year old brother was not hurt.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a piece of metal that fell from a tractor-trailer had lodged underneath the car, sparking the fire.