Exclusive Update: NoDa Girl Burned in Fire Returns Home

Charlotte, NC — An eight-year-old girl badly burned in an apartment fire is back home after spending months in the hospital.

WCCB Charlotte’s Courtney Francisco met Katlyn Cook for the first time in person Friday.

“I’m still myself, and I’m still sassy!” said Katlyn.

“She’s getting stronger, and she still the brave bubbly Katlyn,” said her mom, Rajeeni Hayes-Cook.

Walking up to the door of the Katlyn’s grandmother’s home, the little girl pops out with a smile and says hello.
Her tenacity makes it hard to believe she’s only been out of the hospital for eight days after spending two months in the burn unit in Winston-Salem.

“I’m just thankful that she’s still here because, you know. even the firemen told me any longer she may not have made it,” said Hayes-Cook.

The family’s Twin Oaks Apartment in NoDa caught on fire in February when firefighters say a child was playing with a lighter.

Katlyn was trapped in a bedroom.
Her mom couldn’t get her out.

“It was horrific for me knowing she was in there,” said Hayes-COok. “One minute shes crying mommy, and the next minute, I don’t hear her. It was heartbreaking.”

Firefighters saved Katlyn.
She suffered third degree burns from her head to her knees.

“It’s been a real struggle.”

Now, she endures physical and occupational therapy six times a week.

“Days she has appointments, it’s kind of hard getting there,” said Hayes-Cook.

The family has no reliable car. She and her husband still searching for an apartment for their family of six.

Doctors have no timeline on when treatments will be over, only that it will be a long recovery.

“I’m willing to face that long road as long as I still have her here with me,” said Hayes-Cook.

Katlyn met her rescuers last Sunday.

“Mommy, let me show her!” said Katlyn.

She grabbed the phone to show the picture of and the firefighters.

“She was in the driver seat of course,” laughed Hayes-Cook. “Had them doing drills,”

Now, it’s the weekend, no doctor appointments.

“I like to play with my friends and run around outside,” said Katlyn.

Just happy to be home.

Click here to visit Katlyn’s Go Fund Me page. To help in another way, e-mail cfrancisco@wccbcharlotte.com.