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Bonfire gets out of hand, burns three, one critical

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POSTED: February 14, 2011 11:15 a.m.
Lewis Levine/

Liberty EMS first responder Anna Anderson rolls one of the burn victims into an ambulance Friday night on Primrose Lane.

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In what Hinesville Police Department Det. Kyle Larimore is calling an unfortunate accident, two children and an adult suffered burns as gasoline used to fuel a bonfire got out of control.

One child, who is reported to be Caleb Hamacher, 6, is in critical condition. The other, Mason Tiner, 9, and his father Brian Tiner, 30, were identified at a prayer vigil Saturday afternoon. Hinesville FD spokesman Kris Johanson, who said he was unable to identify the victims, did say the boys were in the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta and reported their conditions. He said the older boy underwent surgery Friday night and is expected to recover.

The accident occurred about 7 p.m. Friday when friends and family gathered to build a bonfire at a residence in the 900 block of Primrose Lane in Hinesville.

"Apparently gasoline was being used and it exploded somehow. We aren’t 100 percent sure right now, it’s still under investigation," Larimore said.

Johanson said the adult was treated for minor burns but traveled in LifeStar to be with his son.

Larimore said four Hinesville Police

Units arrived within four minutes of receiving the call. A Hinesville Fire truck and first responders were also dispatched. Johansen said after the initial response more fire units were sent to set up a helicopter-ambulance landing area at Snelson-Golden Middle School, which is near the fire.

Larimore said EMS personnel treated the burn victims and the children were flown by LifeStar to the burn center.

Larimore confirmed it was an adult who poured the gas onto the bonfire.

The bonfire did not pose a threat to nearby homes and was quickly contained.

The detective said he doesn’t anticipate any criminal charges.

"Right now it’s just an accidental injury, but with people getting hurt from it, we do investigate it a little further," he said.

He said he was not able to release the names of the victims pending the completion of the investigation which is also being conducted by the fire department.

"It’s a joint investigation in that there was a fire involved so we are getting together and see where we go from here," he said. "Right now I’m not releasing any of that information."

Although officials did not release the names of the victims, a group of members at First Baptist Church in Hinesville gathered Saturday afternoon for what Deacon Connie Groover called a time of prayer for the victims.

The names of the victims were displayed on the wall during the ceremony.

 

Correspondent Lewis Levine contributed to this story.

 

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