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Mother wants to spread message about fire safety as son recovers

One local mother is making it her mission to spread awareness about children and fire safety.

In August, Patricia Millard’s son tried to reignite a bonfire with a gasoline container when the fumes caught fire and burned him. Ivan suffered third and fourth-degree burns to his arms, stomach and legs.

Ivan Rubio, 9, was taken to the Lubbock Burn Center because of the severity of his injuries and recently returned home to El Paso.

“He’s healing pretty well. He’s got a couple of open wounds that we are still trying to deal with, but we’re getting there,” Millard said.

Everyday, Millard and a nurse carefully treat his wounds with medication and ointment, some of the burns already turning into scabs, a sign of progress. Ivan keeps himself distracted by playing games on a cell phone.

“At first, it was very hard for him to even take a shower,” said Alejandra Baca, a registered nurse who helps him at home.

Baca said he’s very positive and optimistic about his recovery.

There are good days and challenging days for Ivan, who didn’t get to start his new school year at Hacienda Heights International School. He will begin homebound education so he doesn’t fall behind.

Millard said the school has shown so much support.

“They’ve been great. All his friends are waiting for him to return.”

Hacienda Heights collected monetary donations to give to Ivan and his family, and food donations, including a turkey for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It’s unclear when Ivan will be able to return to school.

“I’m hoping that it all goes back to normal. He was a very happy boy, so we are trying to get there,” Millard said.

Millard is now spreading the message about how quickly life can take a drastic turn. She said it’s important parents always have a watchful eye on their children.

In October, the El Paso Fire Department paid a visit to Hacienda Heights to inform all the students about fire safety. They were shown a video on what to do in the event of an emergency.

“I feel grateful everything that everyone has done for us,” Millard said.

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