Fire and PTSD

Fire and PTSD

Hi, I’m 14, and I thought about running away. I think I have PTSD; I don’t fully know. My mom thinks I don’t but it’s hard to explain what’s going on inside my head (I  know that sounds cheesy).

Long story short: I was starting a fire in my backyard (with my mom saying it’s ok) and I was tending the fire. My little sister came by and wanted to help, so I told her to pile up some sticks. I went inside to go get both of us some water. (and I know “you should always have parental vision with you at all times,” but I wasn’t thinking).

When I came back my little sister was throwing the sticks inside the fire. I scolded her saying, “you should not put anything inside the fire without someone old enough to look after you” and then we went back to what we were doing. I turned around to go get the remaining sticks and I heard a fizzing sound (like after a firework cracks) and my little sister screamed. I turned around wondering what had happened and I see her laying down stomach up crying.

I also saw a burnt empty water bottle and her clothes wet. Second nature told me her to stop, drop, and roll. Just in case she caught on fire. After I thought she was okay from fire, I rushed to my mom holding my sister (who is crying) and told her everything. She screamed at me and they rushed to the hospital without me with them. I was left in the house with my grandmama wondering if she was okay. But, I had to clear out the fire. When I came back I heard my grandmama crying, saying that I did everything wrong, that I was the one who should’ve gotten hurt, that I should have not even started the fire.

And, I believed her. I had thought of suicide the past couple weeks after the incident. I checked the fire pit, and there was no sign of before water. Our theory is that my little sister put the water bottle when I was getting water for both of us. It’s been 4 months and I can’t even look at a campfire, even if it was 20 feet away. I don’t know what to do. I just keep on bottling this thing up. I don’t know what to do. This took a lot of courage for me to type this. (*nervous laughter*) I’m sorry.


  • It sounds like you’ve been through a terrible ordeal with your sister. Hopefully she’s fully recovered and all is well.
  • Try to speak to a trusted adult about how things went down that night. Carrying the guilt of this incident is a heavy burden to bear. 
  • It could be that your grandmama was beside herself and terribly upset when you heard those words. As adults we often say things that we don’t fully mean, especially when we’re upset.
  • Try to think of what will make you feel better about this whole incident. Once you identify what that one thing is try to address and confront the issue so that you can have resolution in your life.


  • How do you feel about speaking to a trusted adult about the incident with the fire?
  • How might speaking to a counselor prove to be a great source of support for you right now?
  • What might be gained by writing in a journal about this incident?