Irene Mumbi, 18, might have to live with severe scars caused by burns sustained while rescuing her disabled mother and a child from a burning house five months ago.
What was meant to be a quick rescue mission has left Mumbi nursing burn injuries and unable to go to school.
Life for the Form Three student at Temple Road Secondary School changed on June 9 when she put her life on the line to save others.
“I do not regret my decision to save my mother and the baby. Though the child succumbed to the burns, I am happy to see my mother alive without any injuries,” she told the Nation at their home in Blue Valley estate in Nyeri Town.
On that fateful day, at around 6.30pm, a neighbour complained that her gas cylinder was leaking. Mumbi advised her to replace the burner and continued to watch her favourite programme as she cooked.
Barely an hour later she heard a loud blast from her neighbour’s house. The cylinder had exploded and burst into flames.
Mumbi quickly dragged her mother Ann Wangeci to safety outside the gate as her neighbours also scampered for safety.
In the midst of that commotion she remembered that they had left food still cooking and rushed to turn off the gas. But by that time, the her neighbour’s gas cylinder had been pushed to the middle of the small compound.
As she entered their single room house, the flames engulfed her body. “Though I managed to turn off the gas, my clothes caught fire and that only complicated matters for me,” she said.
But even before she could plan her exit, she had a baby crying in the adjacent house. Without hesitating, she dashed into the house and found the six-year-old on the seat. “Since no one else was in the compound I knew that I had to rescue the baby,” she said.
She grabbed the baby and ran out. But as she rushed to the gate, she slid and fell with the baby in her hands. “I asked the baby to run. My legs were badly burnt.”
According to the doctors report, she sustained 18 percent burns on her face, chest, hands and legs.
Mumbi and the young boy she had rescued were admitted at the Intensive Care Unit. The boy succumbed the following day.
Mumbi was in ICU for 10 days before being transferred to the general ward. For Ms Wangeci, her daughter is her hero. “She is my hero. She might be in pain but I know that God will heal her,” she said.
Mumbi attends clinic every three days for the cleaning and dressing of her wounds. The family is raising funds through M-Pesa paybill number 969394, account name Irene Mumbi.