KATHLEEN – A 7-year-old girl died after she knocked over a container of highly corrosive acid while playing hide-and-seek with her grandmother.
A small amount of the acid spilled on her lower body, causing severe burns.
Savannah Redfern died late Friday, just a few hours after the accident, which occurred at her Polk County home.
Police said Savannah and her grandmother, Britt Porter, were playing when the girl ran into the workshop of her father’s cleaning business and knocked over a bucket containing about a pint of hydrofluoric acid.
The top flew off the container and some of the acid splashed on the girl, authorities said.
Family members heard her screams and drove her to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
She later was then flown to Tampa General Hospital, where she died surrounded by family and friends.
Lt. Dan Bartle of the Polk County Fire Department said hydrofluoric acid, which is used to brighten aluminum, is extremely corrosive.
Firefighters don airtight suits if dealing with a spill, he said.
“Very short contact with small quantities can cause severe, painful burns inside and outside the body,” Bartle said.
Leon Redfern, the girl’s father, said he rarely uses hydrofluoric acid, but a supplier gave him some. He had planned to dispose of it.
“This should have never happened,” he said.