No charges in bonfire that hurt 3, despite parents' pleas for justice

Credit: Family member

No charges in bonfire that hurt 3, despite parents' pleas for justice


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 7:10 PM

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.C. -- Parents and friends of three kids burned at a bonfire are demanding criminal charges against the man who poured an accelerant into a barrel and caused the injuries, but investigators say for now there is no evidence of a crime.

That has parent Donnalee Parkin flat out ticked.  Her son Brad attended the bonfire Saturday on Barrier Store Road in Mount Pleasant.

"My son Brad was also on fire.  The only thing that saved him was his coat," Parkin said.

Parkin wrote a letter to Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley demanding action.

"You know in your heart there is a person responsible for the injury to all those people disfigured for life,” Parkin said, reading the letter.

"I understand at least 50 people came forward and identified the adult male that threw the substance into the fire that resulted in the explosion.   Somehow, that is reckless endangerment on that man's part."

"Right now we have no evidence of a crime from the fire marshal's office that has been committed,” said Cabarrus County Emergency Management Director Bobby Smith.  He reviewed the case Tuesday with the county fire marshal and Sheriff Riley.   

Smith says their investigation isn't over and they're still looking into the intent of the man who poured the accelerant, but not saying if they've already talked to him.

"You don't pour a flammable fuel over a flaming fire and not expect anything to happen.  That's intent, and you’re intending to hurt somebody,” Parkin said.

Investigators aren't saying what accelerant was used or what evidence they found at the bottom of the barrel.

"To see if it contributed in any way,” Smith said.

Smith says the property owner faces code enforcement violations for failing to the appropriate burn permits.

Meanwhile, hospital officials confirm burn victims Kendall Bolton, Nathan Honeycutt and Chris Holland are in good condition at the Chapel Hill Burn Center.

Parkin's son, who is Bolton’s boyfriend, hasn’t left her bedside.  

"She has a long road of recovery ahead of her and so do the other two boys,” Parkin said.

Investigators say if their findings change, the man who poured the accelerant could be charged.

Friends say even if nothing happens criminally, they expect civil lawsuits to be filed against the property owner and the man who poured the accelerant.

Friends are setting up donation funds to help victims and their families pay medical bills and other expenses.