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Update from McKinney Fire Department:
McKINNEY, TEXAS – Shortly after 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve, McKinney Fire Dept. units responded to a report of an explosion with five to six children burned. Upon arrival at the single family residence in the 800 block of Center St., crews were met by a crowd reporting that children ranging from 4-11 years old, including several siblings and cousins, had been burned when a fire pit in the back yard ignited vapors from a nearby gas can, setting off a flash fire and explosion.
Four of the children were transported by air ambulance to the burn center at Parkland Hospital; one child was transported by ground ambulance to Parkland; and, one child was transported by ground ambulance to Medical Center of McKinney.
By late Monday evening, a family spokesperson indicated that all of the children have been upgraded to stable condition; and, it is anticipated that all children will be released from the hospital in less than 48 hours.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, gasoline is so much a part of our everyday living that we forget how dangerous it can be if not properly handled or stored. The number one hazard of gasoline is fire or explosion. Liquid gasoline does not burn, but gasoline vapors do. Any ignition source (cigarette, match, hot exhaust pipe, hot embers or coals, or any spark) can ignite gasoline vapors. When gasoline vapors ignite, one gallon of gasoline can explode with the same force as 14 sticks of dynamite.
McKinney Fire Dept. spokesperson Stacie Durham cautions, “Never use gasoline as a cleaner, solvent or charcoal lighter. As happened today, vapors may contact an ignition source, causing an explosion. This incident had the potential to be catastrophic. We are thankful that there were no fatalities or life-threatening injuries.”
According to the American Burn Association, simple precautions with the use and storage of gasoline may save your life:
• Never use gasoline around a flame or heat source. Be aware of sources such as matches, lighters, cigarettes and pilot lights on stoves and water heaters, as well as hot engines and outdoor cooking appliances or fire pits.
• Only use gasoline outdoors.
• Start charcoal grills with fuels labeled as charcoal starter fluid—never use gasoline.
• Running engines on gasoline-powered equipment such as mowers can spark and cause ignition of the gasoline. Fill the tanks prior to use. Refuel with the engine turned off and completely cool.
• If you are transporting gasoline in a car, keep the container in the trunk and keep the trunk lid ajar for ventilation. Always place the container on the ground before filling.
• If gasoline is swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Seek medical attention immediately. Gasoline can be fatal if swallowed.
• If gasoline is spilled on your clothes, remove them immediately. Place clothing outdoors for several days before washing and drying so that gasoline vapors completely evaporate.
Simply stated, gasoline has only one function: to fuel an engine. Safe storage and handling of gasoline is extremely important to your health and safety. Gasoline should never be used or stored indoors or in close proximity to sources of heat or flame.
In addition to reminding citizens of the importance of safe storage and handling of gasoline and other fuel sources, the McKinney Fire Department reminds you that children must be supervised in the presence of fire at all times. Never allow children to play in the vicinity of cooking or heating equipment, whether indoors or outdoors. According to Durham, “Our community narrowly avoided a tragedy today. Remember that fire is a tool and must always be used with caution and respect.”
For additional information on a variety of life safety topics, visit www.mckinneyfire.org or call 972-547-2893.