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Polk County Gasoline Explosion Leaves 4-Teens Injured, One Critical

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident that occurred in the Polk City area, Thursday, November 10, 2020, at about 7:40 pm.

Polk County deputies and members of Polk County Fire Rescue arrived, four Polk City teens were found injured near a bonfire, which was in a side-yard of the residence at 8921 Hammock Loop, Polk City.

The injured were identified as:

  • 19-year-old Lane Evans, who resides at this location. Evans suffered very severe burns to his body. He was flown to Tampa General Hospital and is in critical condition.
  • 19-year old Spencer Brink received serious burns to his body. He was transported by ambulance to TGH and is in stable condition.
  • 18-year-old Melyssa Dobbs was seriously burned on her body. She was taken by ambulance to TGH and is in stable condition.
  • 18-year-old Alexsis Carter suffered burns to her neck and face. She was taken by ambulance to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where she was treated and released.

According to the preliminary investigation, the group of friends were sitting around the bonfire and the flames began to dwindle. Evans tried to build the fire back up by pouring gasoline on the flames. The flame ignited the stream of gasoline and gasoline vapors and the gas can exploded.

There was no evidence of any alcohol or drug activity involved.

“A wholesome evening among friends gathered around a bonfire came to a horrific and sad end due to a tragic mistake. It is important to stress this, never pour or store gasoline on or near burning embers or an open flame,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is also conducting an investigation of the explosion.

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