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Teenager charged after throwing gas on a bonfire, triggering explosion that burned 17

By: Associated Press//August 4, 2023//

Shawano Bonfire

Teenager charged after throwing gas on a bonfire, triggering explosion that burned 17

By: Associated Press//August 4, 2023//

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SHAWANO, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin teenager has been charged with triggering a bonfire explosion that injured more than a dozen people.

Prosecutors in northeastern Wisconsin’s Shawano County charged Sam Armstrong, 18, on Thursday with 13 counts of injury by negligent handling of explosives or fire in connection with the Oct. 14 explosion outside the community of Pulaski, WLUK-TV reported.

Armstrong was attending the bonfire with other teenagers when he threw a barrel containing a gasoline-diesel mix into the fire, sparking an explosion that burned at least 17 people, according to the criminal complaint.

Armstrong, who was 17 at the time, later told police he didn’t know his actions would cause an explosion and injure anyone, according to the complaint. He told investigators he had been drinking beer.

Armstrong waived his preliminary hearing Thursday. Judge William Kussel set a $100,000 signature bond, and Armstrong is due back in court Sept. 13 for an arraignment.

Greg Petit, listed in court records as Armstrong’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday seeking comment.

A 16-year-old accused of helping Armstrong with the barrel was ordered in February to perform community service.

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