Verndale mother, daughter remain in critical condition from fire injuries

A fundraiser is now in place to help support the family, who lost their belongings in the fire.

Alaina (left) and Liberty Schultz, daughter and mother, remain in critical condition at the Hennepin County Medical Center burn unit. Submitted photo

A call has gone out for more prayers for a mother and daughter in critical condition after a house fire last week in Verndale.

Liberty Schultz was injured trying to rescue her daughter from a burning upstairs bedroom just after 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 7. The mother suffered inhalation injuries and burns. Liberty's mother, and Alaina's grandmother, Karen Schultz, said Liberty is stable but still has a lot of recovering to do.

"She is anxiously awaiting for her throat injury to heal so she can get her tubes removed. Keep Praying!" the update stated.

Recovery is much more difficult for 22-month old Alaina, according to her grandmother.

"Alaina is still in VERY CRITICAL condition. She is still on a ventilator, very sick, currently going through a series of surgeries to remove her burns," according to the update. Alaina is sedated on a ventilator dealing with third degree burns on 79% of her body, according to her grandmother.


"The medical team is doing everything they can to keep her alive," K. Schultz said. She said the child was almost lost twice in the last couple days after a drop in oxygen levels and her pain levels.

Alaina has had two surgeries already to remove burns from her body, as of Monday morning. More surgeries are scheduled throughout the week in an effort to remove all the burned skin within a week.

"The only part that didn't get affected is basically her feet," K. Schultz said. It's a miracle she's alive."

K. Schultz said the incident was in God's hands and if firefighters had not gotten there to get Alaina and her mother out when they did, she believes she would have lost both her daughter and granddaughter in the fire.

"They wouldn't be here," she said.

The grandmother also sustained some injuries in trying to get both her daughter and granddaughter out of her home. She said she's still coughing from inhaling the smoke last week. Her hair was also burned in the flames. She remains with her daughter and granddaughter during their stay, while her husband continues to work to support the family.


Liberty's time of recovery is unknown right now. Alaina is expected to be at the Hennepin County Medical Center for eight months recovering. She is relying on the hospital's largest ventilator, according to K. Schultz. Both mother and daughter are sedated to help them from the painful burns on their bodies.

"We need all the prayers, especially for Alaina," K. Schultz said. "Prayers matter the most to us right now."

The family also lost their belongings in the fire. Funds are now being raised to support them. A goal has been set to raise $5,000 Find out more at the Facebook page, Liberty and Alaina Love. Another way to donate is by contacting Jordyn Reisenauer at 218-640-0563.

Receive further updates on this family at the Facebook page, Praying for Liberty & Alaina Schultz .

RELATED: Neighbor rallying support for baby critically hurt in Wadena County house fire

The fire was reported at about 9:42 p.m. at the home at 406 NW Brown St. in Verndale. Wadena County deputies, officers from the Wadena Police Department and a Verndale firefighter responded to the scene and observed flames at an upstairs window, where the child was reported to be, according to a Wadena County Sheriff's Office news release. Several attempts were made to locate the child but heat and smoke made the area inaccessible.

The Verndale Fire Department arrived on scene together with the Wadena Fire Department and they were able to gain access through an upstairs window. A short time later, Alaina was located and transported by ambulance to Tri-County Hospital. Alaina was later flown out to Hennepin County Medical Center, which has a specialized burn unit.

It's believed Alaina was just feet from the fire and remained near the fire for about 10 minutes, according to her grandmother.


Liberty was also transported to Tri-County Hospital by Staples ambulance. She attempted to go upstairs to the bedroom where the child was but was unsuccessful in locating the child. She was treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. It started shortly after Liberty left the upstairs room where Alaina was sleeping alone.

Crews tend to a house fire at 406 NW Brown St. in Verndale on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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