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PERRY, Box Elder County — Two of five children burned in a fiery accident remained hospitalized Friday, one in critical condition and another in serious condition.
Two other children who were treated at the Intermountain Burn Center at University Hospital on Thursday have been released. A fifth boy who suffered the least severe injuries was back in school Friday.
The family of one of the boys, 7-year-old Tayton Winward, set up a fund to collect donations to help with his medical expenses. Tayton suffered second- and third-degree burns over 14 percent of his body, including his arms, hands and face, according to the boy's aunt.
"They have him sedated and plan on keeping him that way for the next couple of days because of the pain and the breathing tube. It looks like he will have surgery on Monday, maybe Tuesday for skin grafts on his hands, not sure on his face yet. We are going to have a long recovery ahead of us," Jessica Chambers wrote on the website collecting donations*, fundly.com/help-tayton.
Chambers wrote that doctors were optimistic about his prognosis, but he still has a "long recovery" ahead of him.
"He is a fighter, and I'm praying for a miracle. Tayton seemed to have been burned the worst out of the five boys. So please teach your children about fire danger. I just want everyone to hug their kids tonight and make sure they tell them how much they love them," she wrote.
Tayton was with four friends walking home from Three Mile Creek Elementary School, 2625 S. 1050 West, when they reportedly came across some gas cans.
The boys were reportedly "playing with gasoline," according to officials Thursday.
Perry Mayor Jerry Nelson said Friday that he was told by police that one of the boys was reportedly pouring gasoline on the ground and setting it on fire with a lighter to watch it burn.
"The boys that were standing around, unfortunately, when the fire back-flashed it got gas all over them and the fire," Nelson said.
The boys were still being interviewed by police and a final report probably wouldn't be ready until next week, he said. What was still unclear, Nelson said, was whether gasoline splashed on the boys or the fumes from the gas ignited.
"Right now we're just speculating. All we can tell you for sure is the boys went there with the intention of lighting gas on fire and it got away from them, unfortunately," he said.
Spencer Cronin, 9, said only his shoe and pant leg were burned.
"I think I had a guardian angel," he said. "I think it was my grandfather that recently passed away."
Spencer also remembered to stop, drop and roll, he said.
"I think it's that repetitive nature," his mother, Karen Cronin, said. "Stop, drop and roll came to his mind."
I don't remember feeling anything, just knowing that I needed to stop, drop and roll.
Spencer said he was walking home from school when he noticed that a group of his friends had picked up some gas cans from the side of a house. Then, he saw an explosion.
"I was thinking some might not survive," Spencer said.
One of the boys apparently had fumes go up his pants leg and ignite, said Spencer's father, Mark Cronin.
"He came home and his pants were not burned, but his left leg was burned, I think toward a second-degree burn type level," he said. "Knowing what they have ahead of them … we just send our hearts and prayers out to (the other boys and their families) and pray for the best and miracles in the healing process."
The gas was being stored on a concrete pad on the side of a house, Nelson said. It was intended for the homeowner's lawn mower and ATVs.
"I don't think in a hundred years anyone would think it would turn out like this," he said.
Spencer was back at school Friday. Three Mile Principal Janet Coombs said the school called the Box Elder School District's crisis team Thursday night. Friday, the school administration met with teachers to let them know crisis help was available for any teacher or student who was having trouble dealing the tragedy.
Coombs said the goal was to have as normal of a day as possible Friday, though the school was "very, very much aware" of what had happened.
"They're good boys, fun boys. Our thoughts are with them and their parents," she said.
After the boys were burned, they were taken to Brigham City Hospital. Four of the boys were then transferred by medical helicopters to University Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Contributing: Andrew Adams and Ashley Kewish
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