Phoenix police officer injured in backyard bonfire

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- A Phoenix police officer was one of the people injured in an explosion at a bonfire Tuesday night.

The officer is 38-year-old Jason Stokes, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Dept. Stokes works in the South Mountain Precinct.

His family has asked the hospital not to release any information about his condition.

The fire occurred at the home of Stokes' brother-in-law.

An 11-year-old girl, who is related to Stokes, was the most seriously injured. She has burns on more than 50 percent of her body, including her face and head.

A total of six people were injured by the backyard bonfire in Queen Creek.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of an accidental fire with a possible small explosion near Riggs and Ellsworth roads at about 9:15 p.m., according to Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.

Deputies assisted the Queen Creek Fire Department in treating four victims with second- and third-degree burns. Two others had minor burns.

A 19-year-old man suffered burns to the lower part of his body and a 38-year-old woman was burned on her extremities, according to Marnie Schubert of the Queen Creek Fire Department.

The homeowner told deputies that all the victims were sitting around a warming fire, which consisted of boards in a metal 50-gallon barrel, when someone poured gasoline from a plastic gas can into the fire and the gas can exploded.

Enriquez said all the people present are related to one another.

Three burn victims were flown to Maricopa Medical Center while three others, including a 3-year-old boy, were transported by ground. All were alert and conscious prior to transport.

It is undetermined if criminal charges will be pursued at this time.

The investigation is ongoing.