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CRIME

Four survivors of the Pulaski bonfire explosion file civil lawsuits against two teenagers, property owner

Green Bay Press-Gazette

GREEN BAY - Four survivors of a bonfire explosion October 2022 near Pulaski have filed personal injury lawsuits against two teenagers who allegedly threw gallons of a diesel-fuel mixture onto the fire and the owner of the property where the explosion took place.

Brady McAllister and his father, Benjamin Van Asten, Brandon Brzeczkowski and Isaac Nelson and his parents each filed separate lawsuits Nov. 10 in Brown County Circuit Court. In all four suits, Allan J. Eron, Samuel J. Armstrong and a teenager are named as defendants. The teenager is a minor faced charges for the incident in juvenile court and has not been named by the Press-Gazette.

All four suits claim:

  • The four plaintiffs were at the party on Eron's property on Oct. 14, 2022, in the town of Maple Grove in Shawano County.
  • That Armstrong and the other teen threw a 55-gallon drum partially filled with diesel and fuel onto the bonfire causing the explosion.
  • That Eron didn't sufficiently supervise the party and knowingly allowed minors and underage adults to consume alcohol on his property.

The suits allege that negligence from all three defendants "was a substantial factor" in the explosion.

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All four plaintiffs are asking the court for recovery of medical costs and lost wages, as well as compensatory damages for pain and suffering. Each of the suits also allege the burn survivors face a permanent loss of earning capacity, as well as pain, disability and medical bills in the future.

The bonfire explosion took place after the Pulaski High School homecoming game on Oct. 14, 2022. After a combination of diesel and fuel were dumped onto a bonfire, the explosion sent a fireball that burned people around the bonfire. Friends rushed the survivors to area hospitals, and seven of them were flown to the burn unit in Milwaukee, including the four plaintiffs.

No hearing date has been set for any of the civil suits. The defendants have 45 days from the filing date to respond.

These lawsuits are separate from the Shawano County criminal case against Armstrong. No trial date has been set in his case, but his last pre-trial conference is scheduled for Dec. 6, according to court records. He faces 13 counts of injury by a reckless use of an explosive, a class I felony in Wisconsin.

Rebecca Loroff is a breaking and trending news reporter for northeastern Wisconsin. Contact her with story tips and feedback at rloroff@gannett.com.