Fun camping trip turns tragic after boy is seriously burned

LAWTON_A fun, front yard camp out ended with an 11-year-old boy seriously burned Friday morning in south Lawton.  Investigators said the victim and two of his friends were trying to start a campfire using gasoline when it exploded.  First reports said the boy had burns covering about 40 percent of his body.

Memorial Hospital said the boy was in critical condition Friday afternoon before he was flown by helicopter to a childrens' hospital in Dallas. Investigators believe the blast that sent him there was the result of a childhood mistake.

The great outdoors is something every kid should experience, even if it's only in their front yard.  Lawton Fire Marshals say that's what three young boys were doing Thursday night and Friday morning. Their experience wouldn't be complete without a camp fire to cook their meals.  Of course, the victim's dad had to be there for safety.

"He had supervised them cooking dinner last night and evidently they woke up early and decided on their own to go ahead and cook some breakfast," said Assistant Fire Marshal Tim Taylor.

Investigators say not only did they pour gas on the wood, they also set the gas can next to it.  When they went to light the fire, Taylor says the vapor ignited creating a flash fire with the 11-year-old victim in the middle. "Either he was caught in the vapor fire itself or some of the gasoline got on him."

Taylor says the boy was on fire until his friends put him out. Neighbors say it sounded like an explosion, which was loud enough to wake up the boy's dad. The child's father immediately put him in a car and rushed him to the hospital.

"A burn injury is probably the worst kind of injury to have," said Taylor.

With burns to about 40-percent of his body, the prognosis doesn't sound good. However, Taylor said it could be worse.  "He's got a lot of things in his favor.  He's young, his respiratory system is not affected, so those are real positives. Even though he has serious, serious burn injuries."

Taylor says the boy is from Tucson, Arizona where he lives with his mother. He was staying with his father this summer in Lawton.