IM this article to a friend!

December 21, 2002

Girl's status critical

From: The Frederick News-Post Dec 21 2002

By Kate Leckie
News-Post Staff

The 7-year-old girl severely burned in an apartment fire early Thursday while trying to help her deaf mother has been transferred to Shriner's Hospital in Boston.

"No more information will be given" on the condition of Ashley Dalal, an official at the children's burn center in Massachusetts said Friday night.

However, at a news conference earlier, Frederick Police Lt. Shawn Martyak said Ashley's condition was listed as critical but stable. The second-grader at Waverley Elementary School suffered second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of her body.

Ashley's mother, Kamini Dalal, 30, had surgery Friday at the Washington Hospital Center, Lt. Martyak said.

Ms. Dalal, who suffered non-life-threatening burns to 10 percent of her body, was listed in critical but stable condition Friday, he said.

News of the fire at Elmwood Terrace Apartments tugged at the hearts of residents and organizations throughout Frederick on Friday.

Ms. Dalal's coworkers at Jo-Ann Etc. have opened an account at the Bank of America to assist with medical bills. Anyone wishing to contribute may send checks to the Dalal Medical Fund, Bank of America, 1070 W. Patrick St., Frederick Md. 21703.

The staff at Jo-Ann's also plans on holding a bake sale or craft sale to help raise funds sometime before Christmas.

Meanwhile, at the news conference Friday at the Frederick Police Department, officials announced that the Red Cross has arranged for housing for Ms. Dalal and her daughter when they get out of the hospital.

Damage was estimated at $100,000 to the three-story, wood-framed building and $50,000 to the contents of the Dalals' apartment.

Lt. Martyak said the police agency will be collecting donations, including clothing, for Ms. Dalal and Ashley.

Ashley wears a girl's size 8. Ms. Dalal wears an adult's size 4-6.

Toys for Tots will join the police in gathering gifts for the family.

Members of the Independent Hose Co. and the local firefighters union want to organize efforts to help the Dalals "so that we can do the best that we can for the family," said John Beard, a paid county firefighter stationed at Independent.

"I saw the little girl for just a minute, but what all of us saw was enough to pull emotional strings on everyone who was there," Mr. Beard said.

Independent Fire Chief Chuck Handley said the fire community wants "to see what we can do to help give this family a Christmas whenever the time is appropriate."

Officials at Ashley's school also have expressed interest in joining the effort, along with a number of concerned residents.

Deputies with the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office are continuing to investigate the blaze in the first-floor apartment in Building II. However, preliminary information indicates a candle left burning was to blame, reports said.

Copyright 1997-02 Randall Family, LLC. All rights reserved.