Community rallies around Mennonite family seriously injured in fire pit incident in Bayham, Ont.

A community is rallying to support five family members who were seriously injured at an outdoor fire pit in the Ontario municipality of Bayham. 

Jake and Tina Hiebert and three of their five young children suffered severe burns on Monday night after friends say a jerrycan filled with diesel exploded during a family bonfire. 

The incident happened on Vienna Line. Thirteen members of the Bayham fire department responded, along with the Ontario Provincial Police and EMS. The family was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.  

Eva Enns is a close family friend who started a GoFundMe campaign for the Hieberts. Within 24 hours, it’s raised $29,000 to cover medical, travel and living expenses. Several donations have come from private businesses in the area. 

According to Enns, 33-year-old Jake and 28-year-old Tina have serious burns, but are stable and sedated. 

A seven-year-old girl has a breathing tube and is also sedated, Enns said. 

A four-year-old boy and one-year-old girl were taken to a hospital in Toronto, where they will undergo surgery, she said.

“The children will need medical supplies, medicine and special care,” Enns told CBC London via text message. “There will be permanent psychological damage if it is not treated.” 

2 other children safe

Enns said two children who were not injured are staying with their grandparents. 

She said the couple is well known in the Aylmer Old Colony Mennonite Church. They’ve served in various groups and helped to plan events. 

“The family is so grateful,” Enns said of the donations. “They know that this will help so much and it will give them a bumper for the months that they won’t be able to work. They asked that I thank everyone for them. They can’t express how they feel right now with all the support they are getting.”