Man Pleads Innocent in Missouri Bonfire Blast

A man accused of throwing a can of gasoline onto a bonfire, causing an explosion that burned several partygoers, has pleaded innocent to 14 counts of assault.


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) -- A man accused of throwing a can of gasoline onto a bonfire, causing an explosion that burned several partygoers, has pleaded innocent to 14 counts of assault.

Jerry Lee Self Jr., 22, of Millersville, entered the plea Monday.

Prosecutors say Self tossed the five-gallon gasoline can onto the fire Jan. 17 during a party near Cape Girardeau. Police have said they don't know the motive.

Witnesses reported being knocked off their feet by the blast and seeing others engulfed in flames after gasoline rained down upon them. Several victims rolled themselves in snow to put out burning clothes and hair.

At least 14 of the nearly 100 people who attended the party needed treatment for burns, and one needed surgery for third-degree burns on her legs.

Self was released on $75,000 bail.