Brother of West Springfield man who caught on fire: He’s in a medically induced coma

Hampden County

A West Springfield man had to be airlifted to a Boston hospital after he caught fire in an explosion of a backyard fire pit early Tuesday evening.

A man told 22News his brother is in a medically induced coma, after he poured an accelerant onto a fire pit, and it blew up.

West Springfield neighbors who live near the Bosworth Street home where the fire happened said they heard an explosion Tuesday afternoon.

Laying next to the fire pit, a melted gas can, and signs of the flash fire, it ignited. The fire left a man with second and third-degree burns over more than 60 percent of his body.

“I look over and my brother is right there next to the car, all burnt up,” said Paul Buteau of West Springfield. 

Buteau says his brother was critically injured by the fire, and he had to be airlifted to a Boston hospital after being rushed to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. 

“He was in shock, he was in shock,” said Buteau. “He’s in a coma, he’s in an induced coma. He’s going to be for a while.” 

Buteau said if it hadn’t been for fast-acting neighbors, his brother wouldn’t be alive. 

“He would have passed away,” Buteau told 22News. “They pulled his jacket off him, that was on fire. They took a fire extinguisher to put him out. They rolled him and everything, and he wouldn’t go out until they put the fire extinguisher.” 

The West Springfield Fire Department chief said an employee of a nearby business or a UPS driver were also said to have stepped in to help put out the flames. 

It is unknown how long the recovery process could take.

The fire department is reminding people not to use gasoline, or any flammable liquid on firepits or grills. These flash fires can critically injure or kill you.

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