Gas cans, lighter dangerous combo for Perry boys; 4 suffer burns

Nov 16 2012 - 2:23pm

Images

Gasoline containers sit outside of a home in Perry where four boys were seriously injured Thursday afternoon when one of them apparently used a lighter to start a fire. (SCOTT SCHWEBKE/Standard-Examiner)
A number of boys walking home from school found some gasoline cans sitting on the side of this house in Perry and began playing with them and a lighter. As a result, four suffered serious injuries, officials say. (SCOTT SCHWEBKE/Standard-Examiner)
Gasoline containers sit outside of a home in Perry where four boys were seriously injured Thursday afternoon when one of them apparently used a lighter to start a fire. (SCOTT SCHWEBKE/Standard-Examiner)
A number of boys walking home from school found some gasoline cans sitting on the side of this house in Perry and began playing with them and a lighter. As a result, four suffered serious injuries, officials say. (SCOTT SCHWEBKE/Standard-Examiner)

PERRY -- Cody Neilson said he was in the right place at the right time to quickly put out a gasoline fire that seriously injured four boys Thursday afternoon in Perry.

"I'm just glad they're not too bad," he said Thursday afternoon at the scene of the blaze, regarding initial reports of the boy's injuries.

The boys were burned about 2:30 p.m. in the fire that originated around several plastic gasoline containers at the northeast corner of a home at 2280 S. Linda Way.

Click here to see video about fighting the fire

A fifth boy involved in the incident was not seriously injured and didn't require hospitalization, Perry Police Sgt. Scott Hancey said Thursday night.

As of late Thursday night, one boy remained in critical condition, another was in serious condition and the two remaining boys were in good condition, said Phil Sahm, spokesman for the University of Utah Hospital.

The boys were initially taken to Brigham City Community Hospital. Two of the boys were transferred by a medical helicopter to the University of Utah Hospital Burn Center, while the other two were taken to that facility by ambulance, Hancey said.

University of Utah Hospital officials confirmed that the boys are ages 7 to 10.

The incident occurred while the boys were walking home from Three Mile Creek Elementary School.

They saw the gas containers outside of the home, Hancey said, and one of the boys apparently used a lighter to start the accidental fire.

"They were just horsing around," he added. "They got injured pretty bad. It was a mess."

None of the boys resided at the home where the fire started, said neighbors. The owners of the house declined to talk to reporters Thursday evening, and gas containers remained outside of their dwelling.

Blake Glover, of Perry, is the grandfather of 7-year-old Tayton Windward, who he said sustained the worst injuries among the group of boys. He has second-degree burns on his face and third-degree burns on his arms and hands and will need a skin graft, Glover said.

Glover said Tayton and his family have been living with him temporarily.

Glover said he saw ambulances driving through the neighborhood and was phoned by Tayton's mother about the fire. Tayton ran home after the fire and was taken by his mother to the hospital. Glover described the fire as a tragic accident.

"They saw the gas cans and thought it was fun, not knowing what they were getting into," he said. "Boys and fire, they are fascinated by it."

The names of the other boys were not released.

Neilson, who lives at 2270 S. Linda Way, next door to the house, said he was inside his home when he heard a loud boom.

"I came running outside and saw kids running around," Neilson said.

One of the boys had burns to his face and singed eyebrows, and the other had burns to his leg, he said, adding the two other boys had run off.

Neilson said he stomped out the fire that burned some grass and then tried to help a neighbor comfort the two injured boys.

Luckily, a UPS driver was passing by, spotted the fire and called 911, said Perry Mayor Jerry Nelson.

Police and fire units, along with ambulances, responded.

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