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Grad party bonfire blast injures 7

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POSTED June 11, 2014 8:44 p.m.

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — A drum of fuel left too close to a bonfire exploded in the desert in southern Nevada this week, injuring seven young people who gathered to celebrate a high school graduation ceremony, fire officials and a witness said.

The explosion late Monday night outside Henderson occurred after Basic High’s commencement, said Maddie Anderson, a graduate of the Henderson school who was among the injured. She suffered burns on her leg, face and eye that she said are “not too bad.”

A boy rolled a 55-gallon barrel of diesel fuel to the edge of the blaze near an abandoned building, and the container blew up a short time later, she said.

“Next thing I knew, I was running away and my friends were on fire,” Anderson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal .

The teenagers were out of cellphone range, she said, and they had to drive themselves to University Medical Center in nearby Las Vegas.

Of five people admitted to the hospital’s burn center, two were discharged, two were in critical condition and one was in serious condition, hospital spokeswoman Danita Cohen said Wednesday.

Local fire departments and ambulance companies were not called to the scene, but the explosion is under investigation by the Clark County Fire Department, spokesman Dan Kulin said in a statement Tuesday.

He confirmed that at least seven people with burns were taken by private vehicles to the hospital and the explosion occurred after “flammable liquid was added to the fire.”

Kulin said Wednesday that he could not further discuss the case, but he hoped to release more details later this week.

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