Stepping into the bathroom of her Park Street home Wednesday afternoon, Brie Abshier pointed out the signs of the horrific accident that days earlier left her good friend and roommate, 18-year-old Jessica Brooks, with severe, life-threatening burns.
There's dried blood on the door frame. A black spot is singed into the base of the tub. A burnt ceiling panel is perched against the wall.
All are remnants of a fire that sparked after Brooks soaked her hair in gasoline in an attempt Sunday night to kill lice she believed she recently caught.
Brooks, a former Central High School student who was taking night classes to graduate this year, was airlifted to the University of Louisville Hospital. A spokeswoman there said no information could be released on her condition, although Abshier said Wednesday she was in critical condition in a medically induced coma.
"No one's been able to talk to her," the 19-year-old Abshier said, her voice shaking. "No one's been able to go see her. The doctors won't allow it because she's so badly burned."
Fire officials say it happened shortly after 9 p.m. when crews were called to 1023 Park St. for a woman who had been burned. According to the 911 run card, dispatchers learned almost immediately that the injuries happened as the victim was trying to kill lice with gasoline.
Reading from a report, investigator Richard Howard said the fumes had built up in the apartment as Brooks let the gasoline set in. They were ignited by the pilot light of the nearby water heater.
Firefighters arrived to a gruesome scene. Howard said Brooks suffered second- and third-degree burns over more than half of her body. Skin was hanging off her, he said, and she was bloody.
An ambulance took Brooks to Deaconess Hospital before she was flown to Louisville.
Howard said it never should have happened.
"You don't use a flammable liquid that's not designed for that," he said. "There's medicines you can get from pharmacies."
Scott Middleton, 23, found out about the accident when his younger brother, Ronald Young, called Sunday night. Young and Brooks are engaged.
Middleton arrived a short time later to find Young with burns on his arms from trying to extinguish the flames.
Middleton said Young explained to him and Abshier that someone told Brooks gasoline would kill lice, so she tried it despite Young's objections.
"And it just went up," Abshier said, adding it was unclear who planted the idea. "We don't know that or why she went through with it. She's not dumb. She's actually pretty damn smart."
Brooks has a long, uncertain road to recovery, her friends said Wednesday.
She suffered third-degree burns on her chest, arms and hands and first- and second-degree burns on her face and head. Doctors had to shave off her hair to peel off the burnt skin on her scalp, Abshier said, and they already performed one surgery to bring her swelling down.