CORAOPOLIS (KDKA) — One boy remains hospitalized after being critically injured in an explosion and fire in the backyard of his home in Coraopolis on Monday afternoon.
Peyton Brown, 12, is in UPMC Mercy Hospital in a drug-induced coma in critical condition with burns to his arms, chest, legs and smoke burns to his lungs.
He was injured after an explosion and fire in a burn pit in the backyard of his home.
“When I heard the big boom, I thought that something happened next door at the gas station, and then I heard the screaming,” said Georgette Brown, the victim’s mother. “I just ran out back and there he was… he was on fire.”
Brown and three of his friends were near the burn pit when officials say he poured an ignitable liquid, believed to be gasoline, onto the flames. The plastic container exploded causing a concussion-like blast, which shook near-by homes, burning Brown and two of his friends.
The two other boys were treated and released at the hospital.
“Four juveniles made a very bad decision on how to start a fire this afternoon,” said Lt. Rob Cardimen, of the Coraopolis Fire Department. “It looks like the gas can possibly exploded.”
Georgette Brown left her son’s hospital room briefly Monday night to talk to KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti outside.
“He said, ‘Oh, I regret it already.’ I says, ‘You never play with fire,” said Georgette Brown. “‘I regret it; I’m sorry.’”
Brown says other family members rushed to Peyton’s rescue when the explosion occurred along with a worker from Columbia Gas who happened to be nearby.
“My husband and my son and one of my son’s friends went out and got that shirt off him. If they didn’t get that shirt off him and pat him down, it would have been so much worse,” Georgette Brown said. “The gas man, he did such a great job with him. He kept him calm and talked to him the whole time, it was just wonderful.”