Teens burned in bonfire explosion had 'campfire on their chests'



SEATTLE - A bonfire celebrating a high school graduation turned into an explosion at Alki Beach that burned a group of teenagers.


Five students from Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way had graduated and were celebrating when they were burned in the explosion in West Seattle.


A Seattle fire investigator said the explosion was caused by one of the teenagers pouring a flammable liquid into the already burning fire.  A witness said it was gasoline.


Witness Michael McCLean saw the flames explode.


“Next thing I know, I see three guys running around and it looked like a campfire was just on their chests.  Shirts just caught on fire.  It was bad,” said McClean.


Three boys and two girls were suffered burns.


“Everyone was trying to help him, but by the end of all of it his entire face was burned.  There were, like, four layers of skin peeled off, so he was burned pretty badly,” said witness Jimmy Nguyen.


All five were transported to Harborview.  One victim was treated and released.


Dr. Tam Pham with Harborview's burn center said three out of the four teenagers who remain hospitalized will be released  later Tuesday.  The fourth will remain there a few more days with second-degree burns that may require surgery.


“Their injuries are not as severe as they could have been,” said Pham.


The Seattle Police department's arson bomb squad is investigating and a KIRO 7 Eyewitness News crew saw police examining a gallon plastic container and a can of brake fluid at the scene.