LOMBARD – The community is rallying around five students from Glenbard East High School in Lombard who were injured in a fire pit explosion April 28 at a Glendale Heights home.
GoFundMe pages have been set up for teens
Autumn Hamilton, Korryn Bachner, Ivan Galarza, Alyssa Wolff and Oscar Berrum.
According to the Glendale Heights Police Department, eight people were injured in the explosion in the 1800 block of Marci Court.
The Police Department and Glenside Fire Protection District responded at 10:16 p.m., locating several people who had received burns and summoning medical assistance, according to a department news release. The injured were transported to area hospitals.
It is believed a flammable material was poured onto a small fire in the backyard fire pit, resulting in the explosion, the release stated. The incident is under investigation.
Hamilton, 16, of Lombard sustained second- and third-degree burns to about 40 percent of her body, including her face, according to her CaringBridge page, and she was put on life support in a medically induced coma at Loyola Medicine's Burn Center, according to her GoFundMe page.
She has undergone multiple surgeries to relieve pressure in her face and arms, and updates were posted to both pages that stated she underwent her first major skin graft surgery May 1, during which the surgical team addressed more than 50 percent of the third-degree burns.
Hamilton is responsive to voices and touch, according to her CaringBridge page. The page shared she sat up in bed twice May 2 and she rested May 3 to prepare for another procedure she may undergo in the next day or so.
Her GoFundMe page has raised $86,804 of a $250,000 goal. The page states she will require countless surgeries, facial reconstruction, therapy and rehabilitation.
Bachner sustained third-degree burns in the incident. The tube she had for precautionary reasons was removed May 3, and she was able to get out of bed and sit in a chair, according to her GoFundMe page. The page also reported she could open her eyes, and swelling she has been experiencing has gone down.
A plan for treatment and surgery isn't yet available, according to updates on the page.
The page, which has raised $51,153 of a $100,000 goal, is encouraging community members to “paint the town red" – in honor of Glenbard East's school colors – by tying red ribbons or plastic tablecloths around village parkway trees.
Galarza was severely burned in the fire, and he will need multiple surgeries and physical therapy to recover, according to his GoFundMe page, which has raised $20,654 of its $150,000 goal and also encourages residents to display red ribbons in support of the injured students.
Galarza underwent skin graft surgery May 3 on his chest and arms, and if his vital signs remain normal, his next surgery will be May 4, the page stated.
He has been able to write short notes to his family and friends and sit up with the help of his nurses. He also is getting a splint for his neck, according to the page.
Wolff, a Lombard resident and Glenbard East freshman, sustained second-degree burns in the explosion, according to her GoFundMe page.
She has received treatment for injuries to her body and face at Loyola Medicine's Burn Center, the page stated.
The page calls Wolff "quite an achiever" but states "she will need all the help and support that we can give her to fully recover from this unfortunate accident."
Her page has raised $8,945 of its $20,000 goal.
Berrum faces many doctor's visits and physical therapy to heal from his injuries caused by the fire, according to his GoFundMe page.
"We would appreciate any and all help anyone can offer to help Oscar and his family," the page states.
It has raised $2,005 of its $50,000 goal.
[Shaw Media file photo]
In an email to school families, Glenbard East Principal Shahe Bagdasarian said the school would have counselors available throughout the week to speak with students affected by the incident.
"We are saddened to hear that a few Glenbard East students were injured at a gathering this weekend when a bonfire spread and caused harm to some of our students," Bagdasarian said. "As a result, some students were hospitalized and remain under a doctor's care."
Glenbard East also is hosting a car wash fundraiser for the burn victims from 8 a.m. to noon May 12 in the school's south parking lot, 1014 S. Main St.