Badly burned Coraopolis boy kept in coma

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The 12-year old Coraopolis boy who was badly burned in an explosion and fire Monday afternoon was being kept in a medically induced coma.

Despite drifting in and out of consciousness Tuesday, Payton Brown was still in critical condition after a gas can exploded while he and other boys tried to light a bonfire outside the Brown's Coraopolis home Monday afternoon.

Doctors at UPMC Mercy expect to keep Payton in a medically induced coma for the next three days, his father, Earl Brown, said Tuesday.

"The doctor said for a kid his age, he should make it," Mr. Brown said.

Fire officials told KDKA-TV that two boys were singed and taken to the hospital. The fourth was uninjured.

Payton suffered second- and third-degree burns to his arms, chest and stomach and smoke damage to this lungs. As of Tuesday, Payton's pain was "under control." said his mother, Georgette Brown.

"He just keeps fighting it," she said.

Mr. Brown said he was inside his home when he heard the explosion outside their home near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Main Street about 2:30 or 3 p.m.

Mr. Brown said the four boys were gathered around a small fire pit when one of them placed a flammable liquid -- possibly gasoline -- into a canister and poured it onto the flames.

The Brown family initially thought something happened at the nearby convenience store.

"It sounded like a car bomb went off, that's how loud it was," Mr. Brown said.

After the explosion, Mr. Brown said he heard high-pitched wailing. His son was on fire and was running around when the other children pushed him to the ground, attempting to put out the flames, Mr. Brown said.

"His skin was melting off," Mr. Brown said.

"He looked at me and just screamed 'Dad!'¬タノ"

Mr. Brown said in addition to his son he watched the two injured boys "laying there with smoke coming off of them," their faces red. All were neighborhood kids who often visited the Brown home.

The Allegheny County fire marshal's office is investigating.


Molly Born: or 412-263-1944.


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