GLENDALE HEIGHTS, Ill. — At least 8 teenagers were injured when a gas can exploded during a backyard bonfire Saturday night in Glendale Heights.
A parent of one of the teens said around 10 students were sitting around the fire when a gas can left too close to the flames exploded in a “horrible accident,” injuring boys and girls ranging in age from 14 to 17 years old.
The parent said one boy was burned over much of his body, two girls will need facial reconstruction surgery and one is in a coma with a breathing tube.
The father of one of the victims said no parents were home when the explosion happened. Neighbors told WGN they heard several pops and a big boom around 10 p.m. Saturday night, followed by emergency workers flooding the neighborhood.
The bonfire was attended by students from Glenbard East High School, parents said. The school’s principal released a statement Sunday night, saying:
“We are aware of this tragic event involving our students. Our student services team will be available to speak with students who need additional support throughout the week. Our positive thoughts and prayers go out to all the families involved and we wish our students a speedy recovery. We are grateful to the first responders and the medical staff helping our students”
Many of the victims were taken to Loyola University Medical Center’s burn unit. Glendale Heights fire and police departments are investigating.