Nearly three thousand people opened their hearts and their wallets at a Friday night fundraiser for a group of young boys burned in a recent accident with a gas can in Perry, event organizers said.
"Let's just say the fire marshal was nervous because we were way past our maximum capacity," said Mardi Obray, owner of The Peak children's event center, which hosted the event.
Friends, family and strangers from the Perry area turned out for music, games, pictures with Santa and a silent auction of more than 400 items. One highlight: a tug-of-war contest with a firehose between community members of all ages and local firefighters.
"It was fabulous," said Obray. "The community just poured out the love."
Obray doesn't yet know how much money was raised from the event, but said the bake sale table alone took in just under $1,300.
Four of the five boys injured in the Nov. 15 accident were hospitalized with severe burns or other injuries.
Only one boy 7-year-old Tayton Winward remained hospitalized on Friday in a critical condition. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to his arms and face and has had skin graft surgery on his hands and arms. Doctors at the University Hospital burn center had placed the young boy in a medically induced coma on Monday, a press release publicizing the fundraiser said.
Each of the five families are facing financial burdens from medical bills and other expenses, said Obray, who was prompted to get involved because she employs Tayton's mother.
"We have strong ties to this," Obray said.
Officials say Tayton and his schoolmates Kayden Godfrey, Tyler Bergman, Spenser Cronin and a fifth boy whose family wishes to remain anonymous, were walking home from school when they saw an empty gasoline can in a yard near 2200 S. Linda Way (1000 West).
One of the boys had a cigarette lighter and used it to set a piece of paper on fire, Perry Police Chief Dale Weese said Friday.
The flaming paper was thrown onto a puddle of gas that the boys had poured on the ground. The flames made their way back to the gas can, which exploded, Weese said.
Tyler, 10, suffered second-degree burns to his face and hands that also required skin graft surgery. He is still recovering and undergoing physical therapy. Spenser had minor injuries after the explosion and was released from the hospital the same day. The fifth boy, whose name has not been released, is out of the hospital and recovering from burns to his legs that did not require surgery.
Kayden, 8, is still recovering from burns on his legs and is set to go into surgery for skin grafts, his father toldThe Salt Lake Tribuneby telephone Friday night.
"His burns were on two percent of his body," Blake Godfrey said, adding that about half of Kayden's burns will require skin grafts.
"But he's a tough boy and he's done really well. He's my little Superman," Blake Godfrey said. Godfrey declined to answer any questions about the accident or recount his son's version of the events.
"I can just say it was a true accident," Godfrey said. "It's not like the boys were trying to be destructive. Boys are boys. They were just curious and bad things happened."
Godfrey said he appreciates the outpouring of support from the community.
"It's unbelievable how many people will come out and help when people are in need," he said. "I'm very grateful."
How to help
Funds have been set up to help the two most seriously injured boys. Contributions can be made for Tayton Windwad at any Zions Bank and for Kayden Godfrey at any America First Credit Union.
More info • peakkids.com