Cheektowaga police still are looking to talk to an 18-year-old boy whose niece was burned on the face by a butane lighter he was handling.
Assistant Police Chief Jim Speyer said this morning that police haven’t been able to locate the young man, but they think that others may know of his whereabouts. His name hasn’t been released.
“We don’t believe that they’re cooperating fully,” Speyer said of the family.
The almost 2-year-old girl, whose name was withheld by police, is being treated in Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati. “I have heard that the child is going to be OK,” Speyer said.
The incident occurred shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, when the victim’s uncle was refilling a butane lighter in the kitchen of a Broad Street home. He was standing near the stove when the butane ignited, according to Speyer.
“This happened in front of the little girl’s mother,” Speyer said. She told officers, “It looked like he had a ball of flames in his hands,”
As the young man ran outside, he passed the child, who was standing near the doorway. Flames spilled onto the little girl, Speyer said, causing burns to 20 percent of her body – primarily her face.
The victim’s father and younger brother were elsewhere in the house at the time.
Police and fire investigators spent much of Wednesday at the scene.
It hasn’t been determined if the teen will face criminal charges. “We’re looking at everything – ruling nothing out,” Speyer said.