8-year-old boy suffers life-threatening burns at backyard bonfire

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTTV) -– An 8-year-old boy is fighting for his life after he suffered severe burns during a backyard bonfire at his Lafayette home.

Authorities responded to the 1800 block of North 15th Street Sunday night on a report of a possible structure fire.

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Emergency personnel arrived and located an 8-year-old boy in the back yard that had been badly burned over much of his body.

He was transported to a local hospital and subsequently life-lined to an Indianapolis hospital for further treatment.

His injuries were described as life-threatening.

Several other people also suffered burns while attempting to extinguish the fire. They were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at local hospitals.

There was a minor amount of structural damage at the residence due to the fire.

After further investigation, police believe the incident occurred when several juveniles were playing with gasoline near the bonfire.

Evidence at the scene was processed and the incident is currently under investigation by the Lafayette Police Department and the Lafayette Fire Department.

Fire experts said bonfire safety starts even before you light the fire, making sure you have a safe place without any brush or buildings nearby. Experts said the your safety rests in how you light the fire.

"One of the biggest safety tips that we can put out there is to not use flammable liquids to light the bonfire itself," said Bargersville Fire Department Chief Eric Funkhouser. He added, "when you're using flammable liquid, it's just an uncontrolled fire growth. As you're putting it on there, the flammable liquid catches on fire, it makes the fire grow so much faster."

The best way you start a fire is by using the old fashioned way; using a match and some sticks.

"Try to keep the fire to a small size. If you're gonna light a fire, use some matches. Use natural products. Don't burn any trash in the pile themselves," Funkhouser said.

For more campfire safety tips, click here.

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