A young Bakersfield girl is left with scars and bad memories this Fourth of July, exactly one year after an illegal firework struck her lower body and left her with second and third-degree burns.
"She's living life like a normal little kid," said Gabriela Villasenor, the mother of Nevaeh Bernal, the 4-year-old who was hurt in that Independence Day mishap.
"She's going to school and she's smart," Villasenor said of her daughter.
Villasenor says that last Fourth of July, she and Nevaeh were celebrating at a home in southwest Bakersfield. A group across the street from them were lighting illegal fireworks; one of them tipped over, rocketing towards Navaeh and striking her in the legs and groin. A year later, she has scars on her foot, her legs and her groin area. The clothes she wore that day are singed.
"And this was someone who was so little, and now she's going to have to live with these scars for the rest of her life," said Villasenor, pleading that people who use illegal fireworks be careful.
"Just think...just think."
She says Navaeh, though still visibly shaken when a firework goes off within earshot, is doing better every day.
"That's our job, to let her know she's beautiful even with those scars...she's getting better, she's getting a lot better," Villasenor said as Navaeh laughed a few feet away.