New Jersey

FDNY Honors 11-Year-Old Severely Burned by Friend at Sleepover

What to Know

  • An 11-year-old girl suffered 2nd-degree burns to much of her upper body when one of her classmates poured boiling water on her, police say
  • The girl was sleeping when another girl, 12, poured the boiling water on her, according to police
  • The girl was admitted to a burn unit; the 12-year-old was arrested and charged with assault

An 11-year-old who was severely burned at a sleepover this summer was honored by the FDNY Thursday.

At a special ceremony, the FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro inducted an excited Jumani Merritt -- who said she hopes to become a firefighter when she grows up -- into the FDNY family as an honorary firefighter.

“We’re all happy you’re doing so well. You’re very strong and a very brave young girl,” Nigro told Jumani, who beamed and did a jig as she was asked to step to the podium.

Jumani was at a sleepover at her friend's house in the Bronx in August when one of her classmates allegedly poured boiling water on her after they had an argument, according to police.

She suffered second-degree burns to her shoulders, neck and more than 85 percent of her face. A 12-year-old girl was arrested and charged with assault.

More than two months later, Jumani’s scars are still healing, but her spirits were lifted by the special FDNY honor.

“I just want to say thank you to the firefighters. They gave me a badge, and I’m here right now,” Jumani said.

Her mother was there by her side and said she was appreciative of the FDNY’s support during her family’s darkest time.

“Y’all kept me going,” she told the firefighters. “I kept her going. We kept each other going.”

Jumani says she hopes to become a firefighter one day.

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