Officials from the Evansville Fire Department have determined the fire inside a van, Tuesday, was started by a young boy playing with a lighter.
It happened on 3300 block of Park St. at 10:15 Tuesday morning.
"So I opened the front door and the van next door was on fire, and the father was in the front yard with the baby," said neighbor Charlie Nelson.
The boy's father told investigators the vehicle caught on fire while he was inside his father's house using the restroom. The 4-year-old son was able to escape from the vehicle and tell his father about the fire. The 7-month-old son was secured in a car seat inside the van as the fire grew. His father was able to get the infant out before the vehicle was fully engulfed.
"The dad was able to get the car seat out with the child still in it. The car seat was on fire and he was able to get the flames extinguished and started getting aid to the child," said Nelson.
Nelson assisted the father with the baby until ambulances arrived. He says his experience with burns in Vietnam helped him to know what to do.
"I knew not to pull on the child's clothing or anything like that, and to try and keep the child still is the main thing," said Nelson.
7-month-old Kaj Shode received burns over a large percentage of his body. He was flown to the Shriner's Hospital Burn Unit in Cincinnati, Ohio for treatment.
Shrode received burns to his arms while getting his son out of the vehicle and was taken to Deaconess Hospital for treatment. His 4 year old son was uninjured.
The Fire Department and ambulances arrived within five minutes, and investigators began looking into what caused the fire. EPD Sergeant Jason Cullum says the engine had been turned off and there are no signs of anything being suspicious.
"Right now, we have not seen anything that indicates there was anything illegal. It's not being investigated as a crime at this point, it's just being investigated as an accidental fire," said Cullum.
Cullum described the baby's injuries as life threatening.
We have heard about a Benefit walk being held for Kaj Shode. It supposed to be held Saturday from 4:00pm until 7:00. We'll have more information on this in our newscasts tonight, and on 14News.com.
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