A bonfire explosion caused by an accelerant injured 30 to 40 people in Wisconsin, some of them from Pulaski High School. There are GoFundMe pages for multiple victims, which you can find rounded up later in this article.
A GoFundMe page for one of the victims says, “Two kids decided it would be cool to toss a diesel/gas can into the bonfire.”
Shawano County Sheriff’s deputies determined that an “unknown number of individuals were gathered for a bonfire when an accelerant was applied to the fire causing the fire to expand out of control. Several individuals suffered burn injuries requiring medical attention,” they wrote in a news release.
The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department said in its release that it was investigating the “bonfire incident” within the Township of Maple Grove. Multiple detectives were assigned to the case.
Sheriff’s officials said about 17 victims “all self-transported to multiple hospitals.” The exact severity of injuries is not known, but the injuries ranged from critical to people already released. They believe there were probably about 30-40 total victims. and multiple other witnesses who were not injured.
Here’s what you need to know about the Pulaski bonfire victims:
There is a GoFundMe page set up to help victim Isaac Nelson.
“Hi, I’m Jackie Kordiyak (Julie’s sister) and Isaac is my nephew,” it says. “I have seen how many people have wanted to help, so here’s your chance …”
She wrote: “And although Julie and Luke aren’t the type to ask for help, they can obviously use the extra help during a time like this for extra expenses and for the long road of ahead of them. Please help; even if it’s just 10 bucks, it all adds up.”
The page also shared her Facebook post:
As I sit here with teardrops falling on my phone, I wanted to update everyone on our Isaac. As most of you already know, he was involved in an incident last night at a bonfire with a buncha friends after Pulaski’s homecoming football game. Some kids thought it would be funny to throw a container of diesel mixed with gas on the fire to ‘scare’ everyone. Although their intentions were not malicious, 33 kids ended up with significant burns. Five were taken to Milwaukee, including Isaac. He will be here for at least 2 weeks. He has burns on 21% of his body and will need multiple skin grafts to repair the damage. His close friends here are in similar situations
Thank you all so much for all the acts of kindness, phone calls and texts during this extremely difficult time in our lives. You have no idea how much it means. One of our greatest blessings has always been all the wonderful friends and family God has surrounded us with.
If you know me, you know I don’t usually ask for favors… but I’m asking each and everyone who is reading this to stop what you’re doing right now and say a prayer for all these kids and their families …. including the kids that were responsible for this and their families.
I believe in the power of prayer and I trust that God will bring a greater good out of this
Benjamin Van Asten
There is also a GoFundMe page for Benjamin Van Asten.
The page described his injuries:
October 14 is a day most will look back on with sadness. An evening meant for fun and laughter turned into a night of panic and pain. A bonfire tragedy that caused physical injury to 33 people, and emotional injury to probably everyone in attendance along with the community.
Benjamin Van Asten is one of the people that was severely injured when he was knocked unconscious and his clothing caught fire. He now has burns covering 40% of his body. His hands, legs, lower back, and face are the worst.
His hands and legs that he needs to do his job to make a living, and to enjoy his lifelong hobbies of hunting and fishing.
Benjamin is a hard worker. He’s caring, funny, and strong in his faith and his family. He has a very long road to recovery ahead of him. He will be at the Milwaukee Burn Unit for at least a couple of weeks to a month. Him and his family need our prayers, support, and strength to get through this. Donations will help Benjamin with his loss of wages and expenses while he recovers. Please consider donating in his time of need. Our community is strong and I have no doubt everyone will come out of this stronger as long as we are there for one another to lean on through the tough times.
Thank you all for your donations, prayers, and continued support.
There is a GoFundMe page for victim Brady McAllister.
The page says,
As many of you know, there was a bonfire accident in Pulaski on Friday, October 14th. Brady was one of the many kids affected by the explosion and has suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his legs from the accident. Also he was one of the 6 to go down to Milwaukee burn center for medical treatment. Fortunately he was able to come home today, Sunday, October 16th. Brady, is a loving, smart, and hilarious kid who is in his last year of high school, and loves spending time with his friends. He and close family will be traveling to Milwaukee for the next couple weeks, for check ups on his 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his legs, and he will then undergo skin graph surgery. This is only a set back for now, and he is such a strong kid. Time will heal. Any donations at all are much appreciated. Please send your prayers during this tough time. My heart goes out to the other family’s involved as well.
There is also a GoFundMe page for Lily Koellner.
On Friday night (October 14, 2022), our dear friends’ daughter, Lily Koellner, was burned badly in a tragic bonfire explosion in Pulaski, Wisconsin. Lily was visiting friends from her rugby team and planned to celebrate homecoming with them that weekend. In an instant, the celebration turned into a horrible nightmare when a young man threw gasoline into the bonfire. The explosion left Lily and 32 other teens with varying degrees of burns. Lily was transported to the UW Health Burn and Wound Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and is being treated for 3rd degree burns on her legs as well as serious burns on her face and hands.
We ask for your generosity in donations to help pay for immediate healthcare costs along with future surgeries and therapies that Lily will require. This senseless act also interferes with Lily’s ability to continue school and pursue her training as a firefighter and EMT.
Thank you for your donations and continued prayers for Lily’s healing and strength.
A GoFundMe page was set up for Keira DuChateau. It reads:
I’m sure many of you have heard about the tragedy that happened the night of Friday, October 14th, where a 55 gallon drum of gas was thrown onto a bonfire, exploding, burning around 30 kids. Many of them were rushed to the hospitals in Green Bay and then transported to the Burn Center in Milwaukee. My little cousin, Keira DuChateau, was one of the burn victims that ended up in Milwaukee that night. She has severe burns on her hands, legs, face and feet. Keira is a sophomore in high school. She is one of the most fun and loving girls I know. She is a fighter, she is strong, and she is so brave. I’m starting this go fund me to help support her and her family as they will have an ambulance ride bill and many medical bills. She will have to continue to go to the hospital in Milwaukee during her recovery. Anything would help them out. Please send prayers to her and her family. They would really appreciate it!
There is also a GoFundMe page for Matthew Lindsley. It says,
Hello, my name is Jenna, Matthew’s girlfriend. I am fundraising for Matthew Lindsley and family. After a terrible accident on 10/14/22. Matthew was into hunting, fishing, and golf. And loved being around his friends on the weekend. He was unfortunately one of the victims after the explosion happened. Me and some friends rushed Issac and Matthew to the nearest hospital. Matthew was also one of the victims that went down to the Milwaukee burn center. Matthew suffered 2nd degree burns on 10% of his body. Fortunately he was sent home on 10/15/22. He is now resting and is in a lot of pain hoping for a speedy recovery. His family is not one to ask for anything. But could use the extra help from the community. Matthew would also like to thank all of those people that were there that night the explosion happened. And everything they did to help the best they could. We had some real hero’s there that night. Sending prayers to everyone else effected that night
The victims included current and former members of the Pulaski Community School District, according to The Green Bay Press Gazette.
A GoFundMe page was started for a victim named Brandon Brzcezkowski. It reads,
There was a tragic accident last night October 14, 2022. A group of kids were enjoying their homecoming night at a bonfire. Two kids decided it would be cool to toss a diesel/gas can into the bonfire. It exploded leaving 30 kids w/ burns, several were severe and they were med-flighted down to the Milwaukee burn Center. One of the innocent bystanders was Brandon Brzcezkowski. He just graduated high school and entered full-time employment. A good natured kids, willing to help anyone. He was enjoying life after graduation…bowling, golf, working and now his life is changed forever. The medical bills will be mounting. He’s been in severe pain. Here’s still here, and we thank the Lord., but his medical bills have only just begun. Brandon won’t be able to go to work for awhile (he’ll be at the burn center for at least a month) as the healing process begins for his burns. Any donations would be greatly appreciated to help Brandon and his family at this time.
The page also posted a lengthy update:
Day 3 (Monday 10/17) Here’s an update on Brandon Brzeczkowski from his Mom: We just talked to the doctor. And this is what he told us. Brandon’s legs are healing well. He will probably need some skin grafting on his shin and his right thigh. His face may require a little skin grafting. From what I can see, Brandon Brzeczkowski still has his mullet, which is his pride and joy. He is growing it for his cousin Mikayla Maroszek’s wedding in May. On Wednesday Brandon will undergo a procedure on his Face and Hands. Skin grafting (on hands and face) and microdermabrasion (on face), and then they will put some kind of gel (I don’t remember what) on it so that it heals faster. The face usually heals well, so they aren’t too worried about that, he may have some scarring. They need to do this right away so he can heal and start moving so he doesn’t lose the use of his hands. The outside of his hands definitely was the worst. His palms were somewhat spared from what I understand. The doctor is optimistic that he will definitely be able to go back to work at some point, and that was Brandon’s main concern that night in the ER. He wants to work. He wants to make money. He loves what he does at ProFoamers, Inc. He loves working with all his co-workers, his brother Josh Brzeczkowski, and his Uncle Andy Maroszek. The Surgeon operating on his hands and face is really good, and he loves to do hands. It is his specialty. So, he is in “good hands”. It seems like we have the best of the best here for Doctors and Nurses. They hope after the procedure they will be able to take out the breathing tube – so maybe Thursday or Friday if there are no set-backs. In case we don’t say it or reply back to you, we are overwhelmed by the kindness, prayers, donations, messages, and generosity of everyone. We love you all!
The Sheriff’s Department Is Hoping to Speak to Victims & Witnesses on October 19
The Sheriff’s office wrote that it wanted to extend condolences to those impacted and noted that multiple GoFundMe accounts were set up to help the victims.
“Earlier this morning, we were informed by the Pulaski School District, that officers and detectives will not be allowed to conduct interviews at the schools. Therefore, on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., detectives from the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office will be at the Pulaski Police Department,” they wrote.
They are asking any victims or witnesses who have not come forward at this time to speak to law enforcement. They are hoping to see possible videos.
The Pulaski Police department Said the Injuries Resulted From a ‘Bonfire Explosion’
The Village of Pulaski Police Department wrote in a statement on Facebook, “A very unfortunate and tragic incident occurred last night in Shawano County involving students in our Pulaski Community. If anyone has information which can assist the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office in their investigation, please call them at (715) 526-3111.”
The police added: “As a close knit community, this is where we need to rely on each other to come together and provide information and assistance. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this.”
In an October 15, 2022, press release, Shawano County Sheriff’s Detective Craig Rekoske wrote that, in the early morning hours of that day, the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office was advised by the Brown County Dispatch Center of several individuals who presented at local Green Bay area hospitals with serious burns.”
Shawano County deputies “were further advised one of the victims indicated the injuries were a result of a bonfire explosion at a residence on Cedar Drive in the town of Maple Grove.”
It’s believed the incident took place just prior to 1 p.m. on October 14, 2022.
Due to the “size of the gathering and the suspected severities of the injuries,” sheriff’s officials encourage participants of the bonfire to come forward with information to assist the investigation.