Five teens hurt in West Seattle bonfire explosion

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by KING 5 News

ROBERTA ROMERO / KING 5 News

Posted on June 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 12 at 3:44 PM

 SEATTLE - Four of the five teenagers burned after a bonfire got out of control were released from the hospital today. The fifth person, a male remains under doctor's supervision as he continues to recover. The five teens, all graduating seniors from Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way, were at an end of school year party in West Seattle, when the accident happened.

 
The group of teens had built a bonfire in a fire pit on Alki Beach."They were just a big group around a bonfire, burning their old homework pages," says witness Kate Inderhees. "Then I heard a loud boom and saw kids on fire and screaming," says Inderhees.
 
Photos from the West Seattle Herald show a young man with obvious burns on his back and hands. Witnesses came in to help, pouring water on his wounds.
 
Seattle Fire Department says a male teen threw some type of liquid accelerant onto the flames, which caused the fire to explode. 4 men and 1 woman were close enough to get burned. Good samaritans ran to help, pouring bottled water onto the burning kids. Medics took over treating some at the scene. All 5 were eventually transported to Harborview Medical Center's Burn Unit.
 
Dr. Tam Pham, Associate Director of the UW Burn Unit, treated the victims. "They're injuries were not as bad as first thought, mostly 1st and 2nd degree burns," says Dr. Tam. "One victim, a male, had deeper burns, possibly third degree, he will remain in the hospital for a few more days," added Dr. Tam.
 
Most of the victims suffered burns on their arms and faces. Dr. Pham says even with 2nd degree burns, recovery can be long and painful. "We're hoping there won't be scarring, but it's too early to tell," says Dr. Pham.
 
Dr. Pham says this time of year they see more accidental burn victims because people are building more bonfires and campfires. "You need to be really careful around open flames and never use accelerants, " says Dr. Tam.

 

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