CHICAGO (CBS) — Eight students at Glenbard East suffered burns in a fire pit explosion at a home Saturday night in west suburban Glendale Heights.
One of the students has been placed into a medically induced coma, CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.
Glendale Heights police and fire officials said the explosion happened around 10:15 p.m. Saturday, when someone poured a flammable material on a small bonfire in the 1800 block of Marci Court, while several people were standing around the fire pit.
Eight people suffered burns, five of them suffered severe injuries, and were taken to hospitals. Counselor were on hand at the high school on Monday.
The victims were transported to Loyola Medical Center, which has one of the largest burn centers in the Midwest.
Soon after the fire pit exploded, word spread that the teenagers were severely burned.
Christy Gary from Youth Life Ministries immediately launched a pray chain.
“All these people that know don’t know the kids personally but they care about the community. They know this is a tragedy and the best thing we can do is pray,” said Gary.
A neighbor, Thomas Jacob, says he arrived home around 10:00pm on Saturday night and immediately knew something terrible had happened.
“I saw this place filled up for ambulances and police cars, maybe about 10 police cars and 7 or 8 ambulances. This area was lit,” said Jacob.
Some of the victims are from Glenbard East High School. Students told CBS 2 News off-camera that classmate Autumn Hamilton was critically hurt and a Facebook post says she faces a long recovery.
Fire and safety officials warn that flammable liquids and fire pits are a dangerous mix. In March, an 8-year-old girl from Arizona suffered life-threatening burns when flammable liquid was placed to close to a fire pit and it exploded.
In the western suburbs, the prayer chain is continuing to grow.
“We’re not only praying for the victims that were hurt, but the kids that were there and tried to help these kids, the kids that saw this, and the parents that are involved,” said Gary.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reached out to the owner of the home where the fire happened but did not get a response.
Police said they do not suspect foul play. Anyone with information about the incident should call Glendale Heights police at 630-260-6070.