A newborn infant in Sanford was critically burned when the father’s clothing caught fire in what authorities are calling a “freak accident.”

Dirk Jelsing, 43, was holding his 14-day-old baby Cullum when the father’s coat was ignited by sparks from an outdoor fire pit, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. Jelsing had been sitting on a couch near the fire pit at 10:30 p.m., holding his 2-year-old son as well as his baby.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the incident.

Jelsing had been drinking but authorities have not determined whether that was a factor in the incident, McCausland said.

Cullum Jelsing suffered second- and third-degree burns. He was taken to Sanford Medical Center in Sanford then transferred to Shriner’s Hospital in Boston.

The father and 2-year-old sustained minor burns, he said.


Once investigators complete their inquiry, the information will be presented to the York County District Attorney’s Office for possible charges, he said.

The Department of Health and Human Services responded and placed the 2-year-old with other relatives, he said.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:


Twitter: @Mainehenchman


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