Update on Pulaski bonfire explosion victims

The latest on their treatments and operations
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 4:19 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 9:15 PM CDT
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PULASKI, Wis. (WBAY) - We’re learning more and new information about the recoveries of some bonfire explosion victims from the Pulaski area. Some of the teenagers who were transported to Milwaukee are back home while others still need more rehabilitation. But families are celebrating the little things, like walking, eating, and greeting visitors.

As we’ve been reporting, on October 14 dozens of teenagers were celebrating the high school homecoming with a bonfire on property in the nearby town of Maple Grove. A 55-gallon drum containing a diesel and gasoline mixture was thrown onto the fire and exploded, burning several people. Some had burns so severe they had to be transported to a burn unit in Milwaukee.

One of the most badly burned victims was Brandon Brzeczkowski. As of a couple of days ago he took a couple of walks, but that and sitting down hurt because of the burns on his legs and backside. Getting out of his hospital bed and coughing also hurt, according to his mother, but he’s resilient. Brandon has a feeding tube and is eating, but his mom says it’s still hard for him to swallow.

He wrote on a whiteboard recently that he wants to go home.

Brandon is accepting visitors but is awaiting his brother. (You can read our interview with Brandon’s parents last week HERE.)

  • CLICK HERE for Brandon Brzeczkowski’s GoFundMe page

The last update we received on Keira DuChateau came on Saturday. According to Madelin Pagel on Keira’s GoFundMe page, the wraps covering her burns were changed and some now have to be changed daily.

Her right ankle is infected, and Keira will require skin grafts there as well as on her left hand. She needs surgery, but that can’t happen until the infection is gone.

On the positive side, she’s had plenty of visitors and gifts, and Keira and her family appreciate all of it.

Isaac Nelson’s aunt helped organize his GoFundMe page and posted Tuesday that Isaac was able to see his friends this weekend and received a huge gift basket. He also recently went through a successful skin graft operation at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee.

His aunt says Isaac’s face looks rough but doctors tell her those burns will heal on their own and he may not need any more surgery, barring any complications.

Then there’s Benjamin Van Asten. On Facebook, his father, Greg, posted thank-yous to the kids who helped put out the fire on Benjamin, including Isaac Nelson. He also thanked the girls who held Benjamin as he was going in and out of consciousness, to the dad who took Benjamin to the hospital, and to the friend who told the family what happened.

Greg Van Asten wrote it was “good people helping each other through an unimaginable crisis. You were all heroes that night.”

  • CLICK HERE for Benjamin Van Asten’s GoFundMe page

Lily Koellner is from Brookfield, but she was visiting friends from Pulaski. Monday, her mother posted that Lily had skin grafts from her thigh to her right hand, ankle and thigh as well as her left leg.

Barring complications, she’s expected to go home this week.

Action 2 News reached out to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office for updates on the investigation but no one was available to speak with us.

Article continues below the video with links and resources for donating to the victims and their families.

Families of some of the burn victims are celebrating the little things, like walking, eating, and greeting visitors.

GoFundMe pages for victims

Donation funds

Pulaski United Foundation

The Pulaski Community School District is encouraging anyone who would like to donate money to reach out to the Pulaski United Foundation at (920) 822-6051.

Donation Buckets

Numerous businesses in the Pulaski area have donation buckets on their front counters. Look for a flyer attached to the bucket.

Burn Victims Fund

Financial donations can also be made to the Pulaski Burn Victims Fund at Fox Communities Credit Union. 100 percent of donations will be equally shared among the victims to help with medical bills.

SpotFund for family expenses

Pulaski resident Mallory Kinchen started a SpotFund to support victims’ families with smaller bills that may not be a priority right now as medical bills grow. Donations will also provide them with gift cards for food, gas and lodging.

Messages of support

Cards and letters for Brandon and Keira can be mailed to:

Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Regional Burn Center

2301 N Lake Drive 5th Floor

Milwaukee, WI 53211