Boy critically injured in backyard bonfire


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MAGNA -- An 11-year-old boy is recovering from serious burns after a backyard explosion in Magna.

The boy is in critical condition at the burn unit of University Hospital. He received second and third degree burns to his arm, shoulder, neck and face.

A group of five boys was trying to start a bonfire in the backyard of a house near 7500 West and 3700 South in Magna Wednesday night in order to roast marshmallows. The 11-year-old boy poured gasoline onto the fire, which climbed the stream of gas to the gas can. It then exploded as the boy was holding it.

Sgt. James Blanton of the Unified Police Department said, "A neighbor across the street was able to come over and gather up the kids and get them to safety. Officers were able to put out the fire and able to get the fire away from the house."

Police say the boy holding the gas can was critically injured by the explosion and was taken by ambulance to University Hospital.

Another boy received some minor burns. He was treated on scene and then released. Two other boys ran from the fire but eventually returned to the house with their parents and confessed what had happened.

Police say there were no parents at the house at the time of the incident and the boys were unsupervised.

"Kids need to be watched at all times," Blanton said. "Some of them will get mischievous a little bit. I understand in the summertime bonfires and roasting marshmallows are OK, but in this situation they didn't have any parents or adult supervision, and it could have been avoided."

The fire melted a small section of siding on the home, but otherwise it was not damaged.

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Written with contributions from Shara Park and Mary Richards.

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