Filmmaker Launches Burn Awareness and Fire Safety Campaign for July 4

Fire is unforgiving. That’s the message filmmaker, Megan Smith-Harris wants to share with viewers this summer. From a simple match to light a barbecue to Fourth of July sparklers and fireworks; from beachfront bonfires toasting marshmallows to spending time in the sun – by all means, enjoy yourself, but be careful.

Smith-Harris has become keenly aware of the dangers of fire and the trauma that accompanies serious burns while producing a new documentary, TRIAL BY FIRE: Lives Re-Forged. “Beyond the incredibly brave and inspirational people who share their journeys of recovery, there is underlying theme of the dangers of everyday burn situations. Simple precautions and awareness can save lives,”says the filmmaker.
Burn survivors Karin McKemey and Calais Weber, who are featured in the film, will be special guests at a reception announcing the initiative, hosted by Simon and Julene Greenshields of Wilton, Connecticut, at 7pm on Wednesday, June 15.
Karin, a South Carolina teacher and mother of three, was preparing a holiday homecoming for her husband, George, who was returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, when she looked outside and saw her 13-year old son, Conner, engulfed in flames while lighting a propane heater. Karin jumped through a picture window to help her son. George arrived home for Christmas, to find both his wife and son severely burned and in medically induced comas.
Calais, a teenage model and straight-A student at an elite mid-western boarding school, was burned in chemistry class when an instructor accidentally caused a chemical explosion. As others escaped, Calais was left to burn on the classroom floor, only to be saved by a school maintenance worker who happened by.

Through it all, both women summoned the strength and faith to endure, not as burn victims, but as survivors who overcame the greatest challenge of their lives. According to the American Burn Association, nearly half-a-million Americans are seriously burned each year, with nearly 150,000 people requiring hospital or burn center treatment.

“All the more reason,” says Smith-Harris, “to remember that fire is unforgiving.”

TRIAL By FIRE: Lives Re-Forged, is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) production. Clips can be seen at

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