Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
Six children were injured when a gas can exploded in their backyard.
Four children were airlifted to a Dallas hospital with critical burns after a gas can exploded on Christmas Eve next to an open fire pit in a McKinney backyard, a fire official said.
Investigators said the children were playing with fire and gasoline when the explosion in the 800 block of Center Street occurred.
At least one of the children sprinkled gasoline on the fire Monday, and then left the can near the barbecue pit, said McKinney Fire Department spokeswoman Stacie Durham. The fumes from the can ignited. All six children were nearby when it exploded, and the flames hit them, she said.
A relative said an adult who was home at the time had gone inside for a moment to get some chicken to cook for the children.
The children, ages 4 to 11, are related and some are siblings, Durham said.
Neighbors said the children came running out into the street.
A child who is believed not to have been injured ran into the home and told the adults there was an explosion and the children were on fire, Durham said. A neighbor called 911.
The four children who were critically injured are being treated at Parkland Hospital.
Two other children were also hospitalized, one with serious injuries and the other with minor burns. One was taken to the Parkland in serious condition, and a sixth was taken to a McKinney hospital with minor burns, she said.
By late Monday evening, a family spokesperson indicated that all of the children have been upgraded to stable condition; and, it is anticipated that all children will be released from the hospital in less than 48 hours.
Police are investigating the incident.
NBC 5's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.