A tragic Nov. 14 accident claimed the life of a Florida mother of five. According to the New York Post, the woman suffered burns on “nearly 100% of her body in a horrific fire pit accident.” The incident took place in the backyard of her home.
The woman, Nicole Foltz, 38, and her husband, Jeff, lived in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Jeff noted that he often lights fires in their backyard fire pit to “keep the bugs away,” especially when entertaining friends, WFTS reported.
In recounting what happened, Jeff told Fox 13 News that he thought nothing of stepping inside his house to retrieve something as his family remained outside with the fire burning safely in the pit area.
Jeff assumes that when he was inside, his wife Nicole noticed the fire was going out and attempted to reignite it.
“I had just gone inside, and to my knowledge,” Jeff speculated, “she decided to try to keep the fire going, keep the fun going, and she put another log on it, and there wasn’t much flame at all.”
Jeff continued: “But she just, I guess, felt [the need] to pour a little gas on it, and it would reignite, and it did. I guess it must’ve traveled the gas stream up to the gas can, and it exploded in her hands.”
Foltz told WFTS that his wife “actually stopped, dropped and rolled like you are supposed to,” but despite her efforts, she was overwhelmed by the flames and suffered burns on almost 100% of her body. She died on Nov. 17, three days after the incident.
WFTS reported that Jeff and Nicole’s 11-year-old son Jeffrey suffered second- and third-degree burns over about 40% of his body. He was released after spending 12 days in the hospital.
Foltz told WFTS: “I never left his side in the hospital, which is difficult, especially because I feel bad for other children there. I can see how it is to not have somebody that can be there for you by your bedside 24/7.”
Jeff reported that Jeffery is now home where he continues to recuperate from his burn injuries.
“He’s staying pretty strong,” the father told Fox 13. “I’m sure the whole crew there was really surprised to hear that two days after we got home, he was walking.”
Nicole worked as a server and manager at the Tarpon Tavern. A GoFundMe account has been set up for Nicole’s family. Fundraiser organizer Dan Jenkin wrote:
“Her radiant smile always filled the room. She was always there for everyone — there for every relative, every friend, every customer, every co-worker, every birthday, every anniversary, every day for everyone.”
Jenkin’s added: “We will miss Nicole, but our memories of her are eternal.”
Tavern owner Ania Bozena told Fox 13 Nicole “absolutely loved her work where everybody adored her not just for her hard work, but also personality and friendship. She was a devoted wife to her amazing husband, Jeff. But most of all, she was a great mother who always put her family first.”
On Friday night, Tarpon Tavern and their affiliate, The Bistro, donated 10% of their proceeds to the devastated Foltz family.
Nicole’s husband commented to WFTS that his wife was “all around one of the best, genuine people. She had a fierceness to her. Everybody loved her.” He then urged all to be diligent to “practice fire safety.”
“I don’t want to read about somebody else’s family having to go through this. It’s unimaginable,” he told WFTS. “It’s just one of those senseless acts you don’t expect to happen in your family … gasoline is not a joke when it comes to fire. You have to be careful or just don’t do it at all.”
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