ABINGTON, Mass. — As a 31-year-old Whitman native fights for his life in a Boston hospital following a backyard fire caused by gasoline, officials are urging the public not to use flammable materials around outdoor fires.

“Any flammable liquid, especially gasoline, cannot be used near any open flame,” Abington Fire Capt. John Nuttall said Sunday.
William Brooks of Lewiston, Maine, was listed in critical condition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston on Monday morning, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Brooks suffered second- and third-degree burns over an estimated 75 to 80 percent of his body after pouring gasoline on a backyard fire pit in Abington on Saturday night, causing an explosion.
Two other adults in their 30s, Marcy and Kevin Breivogel of Rockland, suffered burns to their legs, a fire official said. They were listed in fair condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston Monday.
The fire was reported at 7:40 p.m. Saturday, at 65 Bay State Circle.
About 40 people, including several children, had been at the home during the day for a child’s birthday party, said homeowner Mathew Stephenson, Brooks’ longtime friend.
Brooks and the Breivogels were the only people in the backyard at the time of the fire. Stephenson estimated that about a half-gallon of gas had been in the can that Brooks used to pour on the fire.
Brooks was on fire for at least 30 seconds after the explosion, Stephenson said.
Brooks lived in Whitman until about five years ago, he said.
Saturday’s fire in Abington was the latest report of burn injuries involving gasoline nationwide this month:
On June 15, a 12-year-old Arkansas boy was severely burned after he poured gasoline on himself and set it on fire while his friend videotaped the stunt.
On June 14, a 14-year-old Texas girl suffered first- and second-degree burns on her face, head and arms after she poured gasoline on a tree stump before igniting it.
To be safe, Nuttall, the Abington fire captain, cautioned area residents against using flammable liquids near outdoor fires.
“People are going to start camping. This happens every year at camp fires,” Nuttall said. “(There should be) no flammable liquids, period.”

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