FORT PIERCE — Heavily sedated teenager Brejhyla Noble only wakes briefly from hospitalization in Orlando after receiving severe burns from a gas stove explosion in her kitchen in Fort Pierce on Monday.
Her father, Bruce Noble, said Wednesday that her eyes express that she is happy to be alive.
Even so, Bruce Noble has to collect himself before he can go on.
"She is such a sweet girl," he said as tears ran down his cheeks.
Monday evening the Fort Pierce Central High School honor student was baking a potato at home when gas apparently ignited, setting her hair and clothes afire. The force blew out window screens and knocked a door of its hinges in the home in the 1100 block of Colonial Road, off U.S. 1.
Somehow Brejhyla staggered into another room where her mother, Melissa Young, laid down on daughter to extinguish the flames. The mother said she pulled out burning hair and knocked out flames with a purple cloth.
"It is hard seeing your child on fire," the mother said.
The teenager was air evacuated to the Orlando Regional Medical Center where on Wednesday she is listed in stable condition in a trauma step-down unit with second and third degree burns to 40 percent of her body.
Doctors told the parents it could be a day or two before the extent of Brejhyla's burns are known. Currently she has second degree burns to her face and third degree burns to both arms and on her legs from her thighs to her knees, the girl's father said. There also are burns to her chest and stomach.
"She's strong," Noble said of the girl who has a 3.8 grade-point average, was on her school's cross country team and competed in weightlifting. She has been working a summer internship with the Fort Pierce financial department. Eventually she wants to be a pediatrician.
When the father first saw her in the hospital, he said, "I started screaming. I lost it."
He believed that his daughter, despite her injuries, wanted to comfort him. "She is the type of person who puts others in front of her," he said.
According to St. Lucie County Fire District spokeswoman Catherine Chaney there was no investigation because the fire was attributed to the oven flashing and the only injuries were to the girl.