Child Hospitalized After Drinking Lighter Fluid

5/2/2008 Fresno, CA 20 month old Aniken Roquemore was rushed to a Bakersfield hospital last Saturday after drinking lighter fluid. He was later flown to Children's Hospital. Baby Aniken is in critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Making things worse, the baby's family has no medical insurance.

Jermaine Roquemore of Bakersfield said he was getting ready to barbecue when he left the child alone for less than 30 seconds. "When he took a drink of it, it put him in respiratory distress. From that point on, his body started to fail. He just blacked out," Roquemore said.

Jermaine is a seasonal firefighter for the Department of Forestry, who only works 9 months out of the year. He says bad timing left him without insurance. "During a layoff period you're not offered insurance unless you can afford the $1,500 dollars a month to cover your full family. I'm an average person, I can't afford an additional $1,500 dollars on top of my family life," said Roquemore.

As a result, Jermaine has been fundraising while also trying to stay by his son's side. His daughter is selling lemonade, and also offered to raffle off her new playhouse. "She said, 'dad, why don't you sell my playhouse so we can pay for my brother to come home?'" Roquemore said.

Jermaine believes prayer and the power of love will eventually bring his son home.

In the meantime, local firefighters are pledging their support. They took food to the hospital Friday night then visited baby Aniken in intensive care. "We're here today to support a brother firefighter. His family is in need and we do that for each other," said Fresno Firefighter Sawyer Ngo.

For Fresno firefighter Joshua Henderson, showing up Friday was also a way to give back. Henderson was critically injured in a motorcycle accident just about a month ago and hospitalized in Bakersfield. Henderson said, "Bakersfield City Fire and Kern County Fire were really there for my family and for me taking care of the small things like meals, just so my family could worry about me."

The firefighters say helping out is what firefighters do, supporting strangers... who are also firefighting family.

Baby Aniken Fund
Kern Schools Federal Credit Union
Account Number: 8099190-00
Phone Number: (661)833-7900

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.