News

‘A fighter to the end,’ 5-year-old Independence girl dies two days after duplex fire

Kai-Lynn McMullin suffered burns over one-third of her body after she was pulled from a burning duplex fire on Saturday in the 10100 block of East Winner Road in Independence. The 5-year-old died Monday.
Kai-Lynn McMullin suffered burns over one-third of her body after she was pulled from a burning duplex fire on Saturday in the 10100 block of East Winner Road in Independence. The 5-year-old died Monday.

A 5-year-old girl battling burns over one-third of her body died Monday, two days after neighbors rescued her from a fire at an Independence duplex.

Kai-Lynn McMullin had been hospitalized in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns and smoke inhalation injuries since the fire happened about noon Saturday. She had been on a ventilator and lost all brain function from swelling caused by fever, relatives said.

“She was fighter until the end, and it’s very tragic that she lost her life,” said Kyle Chadwick, who spoke Monday on behalf of the family.

Kai-Lynn’s organs will be donated, he said.

“Kai-Lynn’s family has received a tremendous outpouring of prayer and love and support over the last 48 hours, and they want everyone to know that they feel every prayer and they deeply, deeply appreciate it,” Chadwick said.

Fire officials said Kai-Lynn was on a sofa in the living room when the fire broke out in the duplex in the 10100 block of East Winner Road.

Heavy smoke and flames prevented the child’s mother, Tiffanie Burcham, and her boyfriend, Mike Turner, from reaching Kai-Lynn. They escaped out a back window.

Neighbors used a wrought-iron bench to break a front window and rescue Kai-Lynn.

It took fire crews about three minutes to get the blaze under control. The fire was contained to the living room, but smoke and heat damaged the rest of the structure, Fire Chief John Greene said.

Investigators have not determined the fire’s cause, but it appears to have been accidental. Investigators have not spoken with the family, Greene said.

“We have not narrowed it down to anything specific, but it wasn’t gas, it wasn’t electrical and there was no fireplace,” he said.

No damage or cost estimates had been determined Monday.

Turner, Burcham and Kai-Lynn had moved into the duplex on Friday. The family lost all of its belongings. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up on GoFundMe.com to assist the family.

Non-financial donations can be dropped off at the Community Services League, 404 N. Noland Road, Independence.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments