Three youths in lucky escape after their sleepout erupts in flames

Three youths leaped for their lives through a window after their sleepout caught fire at the rear of an Esmond Road house on Sunday night.

The teenagers, all aged 15 and 16, were taken to Port Pirie hospital with burns in the drama which began about 11.30pm.

“It is not nice running into one of those things expecting someone to be burnt to a crisp. It was very scary,” said Ryan Dunnill, stepfather of one of the boys.

Mr Dunnill, 37, a pensioner, was in the house when when flames blocked the door of the sleepout causing the boys to jump out the window to flee the blaze.

Fire-fighters said the fire had started accidentally.

Mr Dunnill said: “It was an accident. Whatever they were doing they were being silly. You would think they would know better than to play with petrol and fire and things like that.

“Whatever they had started was behind the door and they could not get out.”

He said the boys had burns on their neck, feet and arms.

“My boys came running in saying their room out the back was on fire,” he said.

“I give them credit for thinking about getting out the window. I have no idea what they were doing. We have to wait for investigators to tell us that.

“One of the boys had a panic attack.”

He said one of the boys is a talented baseball pitcher and catcher who possibly has a sport career in the United States.

Neighbour Daphne Patterson, 85, said she had heard “a couple of loud bangs” about 11.30pm then saw emergency services outside the property.

“I could not smell any smoke or see any fire so they had it out by then,” she said.

Another neighbour said he had stepped outside his own home to see the fire trucks after hearing banging of vehicle doors.

“God only knows how it happened,” he said.

Metropolitan Fire Service station officer Shane Finney said about $30,000 damage had been caused.

He said the fire had been caused accidentally and the boys had escaped the flames by the time fire-fighters arrived.

Police forensic investigators checked the scene.