Boy, 6, burned over 70% of his body in bonfire explosion

Published: Apr. 16, 2023 at 12:26 AM EDT
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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (KPHO/Gray News) - A 6-year-old boy is facing a long and painful road to recovery after suffering second and third-degree burns on more than half his body in an accidental bonfire explosion at an Arizona neighborhood gathering.

Mother Chelsea Colvin says her life and that of her 6-year-old son, Carson, are forever changed after the Sunday night incident in Prescott, Arizona. She says Carson went to a neighbor’s house, where they were having a bonfire. An adult reportedly tried to pour gasoline on the fire to make it bigger.

She says the bonfire exploded when the adult set the gas can down, and Carson caught on fire.

“I guess she went to go pour gasoline into the fire, and it went back into the gas tank and blew up. It ended up blowing up all over him because he was close by,” Colvin said.

The 6-year-old was rushed to a hospital in Prescott before being flown to Valleywise hospital in Phoenix to be treated in their burn unit. He suffered second and third-degree burns to 70% of his body, KPHO reports.

“I got to the hospital, and Carson was in there. I fell to my knees because he was burnt everywhere. He looked up at me and said, ‘Mommy, I’m OK. I’m OK,’” Colvin said.

The mother says everything since the incident has been a blur.

“When I went back to see him, with tubes wrapped around his whole entire body, he was not my Carson. He is very swollen right now. They unwrapped his face. You can see his mouth, his nose, and right now, they have his eyes covered,” Colvin said.

For the first three days, Carson was in a medically induced coma. He is now awake but heavily sedated.

“He can’t talk, and he does have a lot of pain. He has a lot of pain going on right now. He can shake his head yes,” Colvin said.

Carson is expected to recover fully, but the road ahead is long and difficult.

“We can’t predict it because there could be infections, sickness. We can’t just know that he is going to be OK. He will be here for months, so I will be here for months. I won’t leave. I don’t want to leave,” Colvin said.

Carson’s mother says the woman responsible for his burns is a friend. She believes this was an accident.

“It was a neighbor. She watches the kids sometimes for my ex-husband. But she loves my kids, and I don’t think any of this was on purpose or anything like that,” Colvin said.

But the mother now wants to make sure other parents know proper bonfire safety.

“Don’t use gasoline on a fire... Don’t be around propane. Just make sure you are aware of all your surroundings, and please make sure the children are safe,” Colvin said.

A GoFundMe set up for Carson’s family has raised nearly $20,000 for medical and other needed expenses as the 6-year-old recovers.