A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. 13-year-old Bobbie Vicha finally reached that magical age – the age when her mother told her she could start wearing makeup.
The eve of Bobbie’s 13th birthday was like Christmas Eve in the Vicha household. “She saved her allowance for months to buy some makeup,” said her mother Barbara, speaking from a downtown Batavia Red Cross emergency shelter.
Brought up to be environmentally responsible, Bobbie researched which cosmetics were animal friendly, and which ones contained harmful chemicals, which she wanted to avoid.
Returning from the nearby Yorktown Center mall, Bobbie sprinted upstairs to begin the transformation process. “We almost got a speeding ticket on the way back from Yorktown,” said Barbara. “She was so excited to get home, and I was so excited for her. We talked about different looks and eye shadows, and she really wanted to do the ‘smoky eye’ look that all the celebrities use.”
What Barbara didn’t know was that Bobbie’s attempt at authenticity would involve actual smoke – from potpourri the teen used to naturally scent her room. Bobbie burned some of the natural plant material and used the ash to create the ‘smoke’ look. “I didn’t know she was going to use any fire or matches,” said her mother.
The excitement apparently clouded Bobbie’s judgment. While studying online makeup tutorials in the opposite corner of her bedroom, a smoldering ember of potpourri apparently ignited the youngster’s frilly curtains.
“When I turned around,” said the sobbing teen, “the whole room was on fire. It happened so fast and all I could do was scream and run downstairs.”
Bobbie alerted her mother that the house was on fire, grabbed her pet cat Chloe and the wireless kitchen phone. “It was a cheap phone,” said Barbara, “and it was out of range when we got to the front yard. The fire spread so quick – the whole house went up just like that!” Fire officials arrived after a neighbor phoned in the emergency.
Medical personnel initially thought Bobbie had been badly burned, as only one eye had been made up to look ‘smoky,’ while the other eye was badly smeared. Bobbie explained to fire officials what had happened, and that no mystery or foul play was involved.
“I appreciate her honesty,” said Barbara “She fessed up, and it was an accident. The home was fully covered by fire insurance. She feels bad enough already.”
When asked if the teen would be allowed to concoct her own makeup in the future, her mother replied, “Screw that – I’m buying her some Maybelline!”