ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A word of warning, this summer, from burn doctors at the University of Michigan Medical Center who say they’re seeing a spike in the number of people badly burned in gasoline-accelerated fires outdoors.

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with Karla Klas, RN, who says people seem to forget how dangerous gasoline can be.

“People often take for granted just how dangerous and explosive that this fuel is,” said Klas, who is an Injury Prevention Nurse at the U of M Trauma Burn Center.

“I mean the intent of why we use gasoline is actually to cause that ignition, or that explosion if you will, to run engines. So, people minimize how dangerous it can be then, if they don’t use it in the proper way,” she said.

“They add gasoline to the fire to try to get it going. And if somebody’s done it before and they;’ve done it without getting hurt, they think it’s okay to do it again. And, really, it’s just a matter of when their luck is gonna run out,” said Klas.

Klas said children and teens are also at risk.

“Some of the other injuries that we’re also seeing are youths who are, you know, experimenting, playing around with gasoline, lighters and things like that,” she said.

Klas said the U of M burn unit has treated 14 cases this month alone.

Last September, a 6-year-old Lenox Township girl burned in a fire pit incident died of her injuries. The girl was burned over 90-percent of her body. Authorities say she was sitting two feet away from the fire when an accelerate, believed to be gasoline, was thrown on the flames. Her father was convicted of child abuse.


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