Three local youths are recovering from severe burns sustained while performing a controlled burn on a north-end property on Leffner Court just after midnight on Sunday morning.
Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services Chief Scott Lewis said crews were dispatched to an unknown type of fire in the area, but found nothing showing upon their arrival.
The screams of the victims is what alerted neighbors to the unfolding situation.
“Fire crews were investigating the area when they were flagged down by nearby neighbors who informed them that a fire had occurred on a property located on Leffner Court,” Lewis said. “The neighbors also reported hearing several kids screaming out and crying for help.”
At roughly the same time, fire crews received notification from Desert View Hospital in Pahrump that three burn victims, between 12 and 13 years of age arrived at the facility for burn care and treatment.
“We upgraded that assignment to a full investigation where Engine 5 maintained the scene, and we found that three boys had apparently been conducting an unauthorized controlled burn,” Lewis said. “At some point in time, an accelerant, that being gasoline, was introduced in the equation, resulting in two of the boys catching on fire.”
Of the three victims, two were airlifted from Desert View Hospital to the Burn Center at UMC Trauma in Las Vegas.
Lewis said the third victim has since been released back to his parents, while the two other boys presently remain at UMC.
GoFundMe effort underway
Only one of the youths has been identified. A GoFundMe account has been established for one of the boys, identified on social media as Nathaniel Bautista-Cleveland, who suffered second-and third-degree burns to 70 percent of his body, including his arms and legs.
Additionally, the boy received third-degree burns to the entire right side of his body.
The boy’s father, Jaime Alvarez, said his son is expected to be hospitalized for up to six months while the boy undergoes skin grafts, treatment and rehabilitation.
“We have a long road ahead, but he is strong and we ask for everyone to send positive vibes and prayers,” Alvarez said in a social media post. “We have set up an account to help alleviate some of the costs that will come from this senseless tragedy.”
Additionally, Alvarez said he’s grateful for all of the support the community has provided to his son.
He arrived in Pahrump from California early Sunday morning.
“Even Sheriff Sharon Wehrly herself came by the hospital to see him,” he said. “She also came in the next morning and spoke to his mother and expressed words of comfort.”
As of early Tuesday afternoon more than $7,200 was raised toward a goal of $20,000 for the family on the GoFundMe account, while at the same time, scores of messages providing sympathy and solace have also been posted.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes