Pulaski community works together for bonfire burn victims

Businesses have donation buckets or donating proceeds, moms are selling shirts, a dance team is selling bracelets
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 4:26 PM CDT
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PULASKI, Wis. (WBAY) - Shawano County detectives are still looking to talk with people who attended Friday night’s bonfire that sent more than a dozen Pulaski-area teens to hospitals and burn centers.

We first told you over the weekend about the bonfire explosion in the town of Maple Grove. Authorities believe a drum of diesel fuel and gasoline was thrown onto the fire, causing an explosion.

Some of the victims remain hospitalized. Others are recovering at home.

As authorities investigate, the Pulaski community and surrounding towns are rallying for the victims.

A sign in a downtown window says “Pray for Pulaski.”

Donation baskets can be found at the counters of local businesses.

“When I see other people and everything these families are going through, I can’t imagine myself. My daughter is here helping me today, and I can’t imagine having to go through this with one of my kids,” Shelly Wolf said.

Wolf, the owner of The Refinery, was supposed to be celebrating her fourth year in business in Pulaski Tuesday, but she decided to switch her celebration to a fundraiser. She not only collected donations but also donated all of her proceeds to the burn victims’ fund. By noon she more than doubled her normal Tuesday business.

“Just seeing the people coming in and all the giving hearts and all the donations that have been dropped in the box already, so it’s just really cool to see,” Wolf said.

Two Pulaski moms who already crafted together designed a “Pulaski Strong” shirt to sell. With the help of some sponsors, they’ll be donating the $20 shirt fee to the burn victims. They took to social media about 24 hours ago to advertise the shirts they’re going to make.

“We just put it out last night, and we’re over 200 shirts so far,” Amber Ruatti said. “Right now we’re offering to do the shirt for $20. The entire donation is going towards the fund, so we are getting donations from other companies and things like that to kind of give them the entire money to the fund for the burn victims.”

The Pulaski dance team is taking orders for bracelets to benefit the victims.

And it’s not just the Pulaski community stepping up to help. The Bonduel football team is selling a shirt and donating the proceeds to the victims. They’ll also be fund-raising at the Bonduel volleyball game Tuesday night.

“It’s really a great community. All the smaller ones are really coming together to help out also, which is nice to see,” Dawn Wilinski from Pulaski said.

  • CLICK HERE for more fundraising efforts, including the Burn Victims Fund, Pulaski United Foundation, and individual victims’ GoFundMe pages.

Shawano County investigators, meanwhile, hope to have more questions answered Wednesday after they meet with witnesses at the Pulaski Police Department. They’re asking anyone who attended the bonfire but did not speak with investigators yet to come to the police station between 4 P.M. and 9 P.M. Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Businesses put out donation buckets and two moms quickly crafted fund-raising T-shirts
Detectives emphasize they're not handing out underage drinking citations. Meanwhile, Pulaski residents and businesses step up to help the victims.