A 12-year-old Aloha boy is being treated for serious burns at the Legacy Oregon Burn Center after gasoline vapors ignited while he was trying to light some toys on fire Thursday night.
A 15-year-old Bethany boy was also burned in a kitchen fire in a second incident that took place within an hour.
"These two incidents are a wake up call for parents everywhere," said Brian Barker, a Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue spokesman. "Playing with fire and chemicals is not for kids."
At 7:56 p.m., Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue firefighters were called to the 4800 block of Southwest 160th Avenue after a Washington County sheriff's deputy saw a child on fire in a home's driveway.
The deputy called for firefighters to respond as bystanders extinguished the fire.
Firefighters arrived to find the 12-year-old boy suffering from serious burns over a significant portion of his body. A Metro West ambulance rushed the boy to the Legacy Oregon Burn Center.
A TVF and R investigator determined that the boy was trying to light plastic army figures on fire using paper and gasoline.
"Gasoline and gasoline vapors ignited and caught the boy's clothes on fire," Barker said. "Our hearts go out to this boy and his family."
As children begin their summer vacation, he cautioned them to "never, ever play with gasoline. People need to understand that gasoline vapors are incredibly flammable and can ignite a much larger area than you may expect."
The gasoline fire was the second incident within one hour involving children and burns.
At 7p.m., TVF and R responded to Northwest Lilium Drive in Bethany after a resident reported a fire in a kitchen. Firefighters arrived to find a 15-year-old boy suffering from burns to his arms after a fire on the stove. Investigators determined that the boy had been attempting to mix chemicals together to create a large amount of smoke when the chemical brew ignited and burned his arms.
There was no serious damage to the home.
"Take fire experimentation and firesetting seriously," Barker said. "If you do nothing, there is a good chance that the behavior will continue and escalate.
"Property damage, injury or loss of life could be a result."
If you suspect that your child may have an unhealthy fascination with fire, TVF and R has juvenile firesetting experts available to meet with you and your child, he added. If you would like more information or would like to share information concerning a youth firesetter, call TVF and R's Juvenile Firesetter Intake line at 503-259-1408. Services include education, intervention and mental health referrals to any family who has had past or present firesetting behaviors.