Bronx native Jamoneisha Merritt was given a special honor by the FDNY after she became a victim of the “hot water challenge.”
The New York Post reports the 12-year-old met with FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro on Thursday (Oct. 26) to be a “Firefighter For A Day.” Over the summer, Merritt was doused with hot water by a friend during a sleepover. Over 80 percent of her body was burned, leaving her in the hospital for two weeks.
During that time, Merritt’s became close with firefighters who initially treated her burns. “She made it. She’s here. She’s alive. She’s joyful, she’s full of spirit, and we’re going to take it one day at a time,” said Jamoneisha’s mother, Ebony. “The Firefighters came every other day to make sure she was alright, and they still keep in contact with her…it played a big part in her recovery. We’re very thankful.”
Commissioner Nigro sworn in Merritt while condemning the challenge. “It has been referred to by many as a ‘prank.’ Using boiling water in this matter, playing with matches or fire, engaging in activity that can seriously burn someone or even take their life is no prank. It is senseless, callous, dangerous, behavior – but it is not a prank,” he said. “All too often, we in the FDNY have seen the results of these terrible decisions, we have seen our own members burned, and we see what happens when a young child is burned. It’s terrible, and, very often, it is preventable.”
Merritt accepted the honor while pulling off a very sturdy milly rock.
The child’s “friend” who committed the act was charged with felony assault.
“I want to stop bullying because bullying is not right, and bullying can cost people their lives,” Merritt said.