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Young cousins burned in gasoline-fueled bonfire in Pahrump

A small bonfire erupted in Pahrump, sending two local boys to the hospital. The 12-year-old cousins have severe burns over most of their bodies. (Kelsey Thomas | KSNV)

A small bonfire ended in an explosion over the weekend, sending two Pahrump boys to the hospital.

Nate Bautista and Chase Otteson, both 12 years old, are badly burned and being monitored closely by doctors in the burn unit at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

It was supposed to be a night of fun Saturday but quickly turned into an inferno after firefighters say someone poured gasoline on the flames.

“70-percent of his body is burned so anytime they have to move him, it's gotta be painful,” said Jason Yelle, Bautista’s uncle.

Yelle said it was a tragic accident.

The two sixth graders are wrapped head to toe in bandages after the fire got out of control.

“He's stuck there. He can't move. He's in a medically induced coma,” said Yelle.

Yelle said both boys should be outside playing.

“It's just tough. We're used to having our football player and baseball player. We're used to having our crazy nephew. You know, always wild, always outside, always playing,” he explained.

Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services Chief Scott Lewis spoke to Pahrump affiliate KPVM-TV, saying the screams of the boys alerted neighbors to the 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,” said Lewis. “The neighbors also reported hearing several kids screaming out and crying for help."

Lewis said the flames exploded at some point.

“An accelerant, that being gasoline, was introduced in the equation, resulting in two of the boys catching on fire,” he explained.

Yelle said the hardest part is waiting and not knowing if the boys are going to be okay.

“Right now, it’s a 24-hour game. 24 hours at a time,” he explained.

Burns can be unpredictable. Yelle knows there is a possibility the boys won’t live.

“They can't give us any sure word on survival,” he said.

What sticks with Yelle are the good signs.

“You can talk to him and he can hear you and that's the most comforting part, is getting the small reactions from him,” said Yelle.

It will be a long recovery ahead for the two young cousins who face surgeries and months of treatment.

“He's our little man. We're never going to lose hope,” noted Yelle

To help the families with mounting medical bills, click here.

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