Skip to comments.Michigan siblings killed in gasoline-soaked bonfire explosion
Posted on 08/20/2012 5:05:06 PM PDT by cripplecreek
Michigan siblings killed in gasoline-soaked bonfire explosion at high school graduation party
A celebration ended in sadness Saturday night in St. Clair Township, when recent high school graduate Savannah Blewett and her older brother died in a large bonfire explosion.
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said in a release that 27-year-old Christopher Blewett poured a large amount of gasoline on a two-story pile of wood in his backyard and, according to witnesses, invited his sister to light it on fire.
When she did, the gasoline exploded, scattering wood up to 100 yards and blowing out windows in the back of the house, located on the 6500 block of Gratiot Road.
The siblings were killed in the explosion, and three others were treated for undisclosed injuries at local hospitals.
A neighbor called authorities shortly after 9:30 p.m., prompting responses from sheriff's deputies, local police officers and at least three local fire departments.
Donnellon said alcohol was served at the party, but there was no indication that minors were drinking.
A man staying in a campground nearby told television station WXYZ that the explosion shook his RV and described the sound as a "sonic boom."
The Blewett family chose not to speak about their loss on camera, but well-wishers have been offering condolences on a Facebook page set up to remember Savannah and Christopher.
"You lost your lives in an accident that should never have happened," reads a message on the page. "We will all love and miss you dearly."
The weekend bonfire explosion occurred just weeks after a similar incident in West Michigan, where seven teenagers were injured after dousing a large brush pile with gasoline and setting it on fire.
I grew up doing stupid crap like this but it seems like kids today have zero concept of the physics involved in everyday life.
The stupid, it burns!
Literally, in this case.
A few years ago, a local man almost killed himself lighting a brush pile, as the vapors ignited....and the flames went into his mouth and lungs!
I think our modern lifestyle leads us to forget that some things are actually dangerous. Everything has a warning label on it...so nobody pays attention to any warning labels...and somehow we are slowly losing common sense.
The sidings were not the sharpest tools in the shed or what ever may be left of their shed.
We used to have bonfires of 8 foot logs after soaking them in 15 or 20 gallons of gas but we expected an explosion and lit them with roman candles from a considerable distance.
In this case it sounds like it was pallets which means air spaces.
I know a guy that soaked his outhouse with gasoline and lit it. Kaboom. . . I bet you can’t guess what happened + the guy was transported to the hospital for treatment. You probably guessed it. . . he had been drinking quite heavily.
Most people do not understand that gasoline vapor mixed with air is a fuel-air bomb waiting for a spark to set it off. One gallon of gasoline (vaporized and mixed with the correct amount of air) has the explosive force of about 70 lbs of TNT.
Play with it incompetently, and it can ruin your whole day...
We pre computer paleo humans spent a lot more of our formative years experiencing the world and discovering how things worked.
They probably think: a burning liquid, what’s the big deal??
Without being aware of the cloud of fumes that are also involved.
Well the Blewitts, they blew it. Literally.
An explosion that throws wood a 100 yards...
What kind of dumbass puts that much gasoline on a woodpile ?
It must have been several gallons at least
Some people just don’t understand how well gasoline burns. Not just a little better than kerosene; a HELL of a lot better.
A can of gasoline is like a stick of dynamite under the right conditions.
The kaboom power comes from the vapors, not the liquid. Not all that much would be needed, in an ideal scenario. This is how bunker buster bombs work. They spray out an easily vaporizing liquid, something that is like the lighter fractions of gasoline, then light it.
God rest their souls. Having survived more stupid stunts than I can count I will not judge them.
If this was pallets that would provide lots of handy combustion/compression chambers just like an engine.
In fact, unless at its flash point, about 130 degrees F, kerosene does not burn at all. A wick is needed even to keep a flame going. Sufficiently hot kerosene would generate explosive fumes like gasoline at room temperature does.
Air spaces which would act to contain and confine the gasoline vapor, instead of the vapor dispersing into a less-harmful rising fireball.
Yup, any loosely stacked wood would provide ample space for an explosive gas-air mixture to form.