Typically, when you think of inflatable bounce houses, you think of fun and games. Those large inflatable play houses are a favorite for kid's playtime and parties. However, last weekend they were the source of tragedy for a family in Reno, Nevada. Elizabeth "Lizzy" Hammond, a 9 year-old girl, died when the bounce house she was playing in was caught up by wind and ended up getting tangled in power lines.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the little girl was in a bounce house with 2 other children when the wind picked up the bounce house and lifted it over 10 feet in the air, where it collided with power lines. 9-year-old Lizzy Hammond ended up dying as a result of her injuries from this incident. The other children that were in the bounce house were hurt, but with only minor injuries.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has said that they are investigating, however it appears that it was just an unfortunately strong wind that caused the incident.
Her family released a statement that said that talked about how Lizzy enjoyed volunteer work and giving back to the community. According to the family's statement:
"Given Lizzy’s generous spirit, she will be donating her organs which will allow her to help upwards of 80-100 children nationwide. We believe from the bottom of our hearts that giving this gift of life to others would have been her wishes."
An honor walk took place on Friday July 19th in memory of the girl. Hundreds of people were in attendance at the Renown Regional Medical Center for this procession.
Bounce houses can be fun, but they also have the potential to cause injury. If they are not tethered properly, they can pose a particular risk. It is the belief of law enforcement in this case that the house was secured, but that the force of the wind caused it to become unstable anyways.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Sheriff Darin Balaam expressed condolences to the family on behalf of the law enforcement and first responders in town. “We are truly heartbroken for the family,” he stated, continuing to say “I speak on behalf of every deputy, firefighter, trooper, dispatcher, and medic who responded to this incident as well as all area first responders when I say to the family ‘our prayers are with you, our thoughts are with you and we are here to help in any way that we can.’ ”