CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. -- Three teenagers in Cabarrus County are recovering after a bonfire in a barrel exploded at a party Saturday night on Barrier Store Road in Mt. Pleasant.
Kendall Bolton, 16, was burned on her face and hands when a barrel a few feet from her exploded. She said someone had poured a flammable liquid that smelled like gasoline into the barrel to feed the fire.
"All I remember is standing there -- somebody walked up to the fire to start it, and the next thing I know, fire was coming at my face," she said in a muffled voice.
Her boyfriend Brad Parkin was standing nearby when it happened. "Some dude walks up, starts pouring gas into the fire, and it blew up in front of a lot of people," he said.
Their friend, Jacob Overcash, remembers that the explosion sprayed the liquid on people standing nearby.
“Only three people got hurt, but a lot more could have because they were doused in gas,” said Overcash.
Kendall’s parents asked us not to show her face, but it is burned and swollen from the blast. She said she remembers flames coming at her and she turned to run, but fell. People shouted for her to roll, and she did, to put the fire out.
Her father arrived just as the ambulance was leaving with Kendall inside.
"Her face was burnt pretty good, hair singed bad,” said Kenny Bolton, “and I just freaked for a little bit."
Already upset by his daughter’s burns, he became even more angered by what deputies told him next.
“I heard the law say they had him, but they let him go because you can't arrest stupid,” said Bolton. “What do you mean you can't arrest stupid? If he threw something in the fire and knew it was going to damage a bunch of people, I think you should be held accountable for it.”
The Fire Marshal’s office is still investigating and was unavailable to comment Sunday night. Lt. Scott Mason of the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office said it’s too soon to determine if charges can be filed.
That concerns Kenny Bolton, who worries about his daughter’s future and the pain she’s enduring. Kendall’s parents have already made an appointment with a plastic surgeon to determine how to best start her healing.
"The only thing I know, I got a 16-year-old burnt very badly,” he said. “When you have to get the baby spoon out to feed the 16-year-old, it really hits home."