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911 calls released after Coolidge teen, man burned from fire pit explosion

Posted at 8:33 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 00:19:14-05

COOLIDGE, AZ — A Coolidge family still reeling from a near-death experience, after a man's 50th birthday party turned into a fiery disaster.

It happened Saturday, during Mark Ramirez's 50th birthday party at his home near Coolidge Avenue and Kenworthy Road. His family had a fire pit going outside.

His daughter's boyfriend, a 19-year-old, doused gasoline on the pit to get the fire going, but instead, the pit exploded.

"We need somebody stat, everybody's screaming, there are kids screaming," said one neighbor when 911 dispatchers answered the phone. Several calls from neighbors across the street, watching and listening to the chaos came in.

The teen's girlfriend also called for help.

"There was an explosion and my boyfriend caught on fire and my dad caught on fire!" the teen is heard screaming.

Ramirez saw the teen in danger and jumped in to help, tackling the teen to the ground, hoping to put out the flames.

The 19-year-old is still in an induced coma, after more than half his body suffered second and third-degree burns.