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10-year-old recovering after pants catch fire near space heater

UNIONTOWN, Pa. — A 10-year-old boy from Uniontown is recovering at UPMC Mercy after his pants caught fire while he was standing next to a space heater powered by a generator.

Brady Maleta has already had three surgeries since this happened last Sunday after the family's electricity went out.

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He has third-degree burns from his hip to his knee.

"He was on fire. It's not something you think you're going to see, you don't think you're going to see your kid on fire and it was a shock," said Michelle Maleta, his mother. "There is a a protective glass around it. No open flame, just went up to it and burst his pants right into flames. He just lit into a fire ball."


Maleta told Channel 11 her son is in so much pain, she's grateful her husband was in the same room and was able to rip the pants off of him before it spread.

"He jumped on top, trying to smack it out. Got his clothes off. It only took 5 seconds to get third-degree burns," Maleta said.

Doctors at UPMC Presby told Channel 11 they treat about a dozen space heater burns a year at their burn center and the majority are children.

10-year-old Brady has already undergone three surgeries since has pants caught fire while standing near a space heater.

Posted by WPXI-TV Pittsburgh on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

They said that number does not include the number of burns suffered in house fires started by a space heater.

"I just want people to know the dangers of space heaters, something can happen in a split second right in front of you," Maleta said. "He stood in front of it so many times before and nothing has ever happened."

Channel 11 contacted the maker of the sweatpants, Garanimals sold at Walmart, and are waiting to hear back.