Chinese girl, 12, burns to death protecting her younger brother from fire

Chen Zimo and her brother were sleeping in the bedroom they shared when an early morning blaze tore through their home in Changde, China's Hunan province, on Feb 22, 2019.
Chen Zimo and her brother were sleeping in the bedroom they shared when an early morning blaze tore through their home in Changde, China's Hunan province, on Feb 22, 2019.PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM WEIBO

HUNAN - A 12-year-old Chinese girl died from severe burns after using her body and a blanket to shield her younger brother from a fire that broke out at their home.

On Feb 22, Chen Zimo and her brother were sleeping in the bedroom they shared when the early morning blaze tore through their home in Changde in southern China's Hunan province, Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported.

When their father, who was sleeping in another room, realised the house was in flames, he rushed to their room and found the young siblings already unconscious.

The boy, five-year-old Mozi, was covered under a blanket, while his sister's body was found draped on the blanket.

The girl suffered burns on 55 per cent of her total body surface area and her brother had burns on 28 per cent of his body surface area.

Although the young boy is now in stable condition, his sister died after five days of struggle in the hospital.

"If she (Zimo) had stayed under her own blanket, she would have been in a less serious condition than her brother," Mr Chen Hao, the children's father, told the media.

Mr Chen said Zimo was a sensible child and started spending nights alone at home since she was four, as he was busy with his business and his wife often had to work night shifts as a nurse. When Mozi was born, Zimo had to help take care of him too.

After the blaze, Mr Chen started an online fund-raising drive and collected one million yuan (S$202,000) within seven hours for the children's hospital bills.

He told the Post he would pay for Mozi's operation with the money and donate the remainder in Zimo's name to charity and her elementary school.