The 11-year-old boy who was burned from head to toe after pouring gasoline into a bonfire has been flown to a specialized pediatric burn center in Texas.

Family friend Joseph Boccuti told New Jersey 101.5 that  Ryan Jastrzembski and his mother left Philadelphia at 2 a.m. Thursday on a medical plane bound for Shriners Hospital for Children - Texas in Galveston.

"It was second and third-degree burns over 90% of his body. He was at St. Christopher's in Philadelphia where their team did an amazing job but they said this is such an extenuating circumstance, a rare case, we want to get him the best place in the country for this kind of thing," Boccuti said.

The fifth grader has been sedated most of the time since he was burned early Monday evening in his backyard but has been in a great deal of pain when he wakes up.

Boccuti said that Ryan's mother has recovered from her minor burns and flew with her son. His father Scott flew on a separate flight to Texas.

Ryan Jastrzembski with his three sisters
Ryan Jastrzembski with his three sisters (Joseph Boccuti)

How and why did this happen?

Boccuti said the family often has bonfires and was with some friends in the backyard of his home on Ramblewood Parkway as the flames started to die down.

He said the boy took it upon himself to get the gasoline to keep the fire going.

"Everyone knows gasoline burns so he threw a little on there and it went up a tube and into the gas can and exploded," Boccuti said.

Mount Laurel police spokesman Kyle Gardner said he was unaware of any charges being considered in the case.

Ryan has three sisters, one of whom Mount Laurel Fire Department Deputy Chief Todd Evans credited for helping snuff the flames by telling him to "stop, drop and roll," according to Boccuti.

Ryan Jastrzembski and a fish he caught
Ryan Jastrzembski and a fish he caught (Joseph Boccuti)

'A super sweet kid'

Boccuti said the boy loves to fish with his dad and spend time with his sisters.

"He's the kind of kid that everyone falls in love with as soon as they meet him. He's thick as thieves with his three sisters. Just a super duper nice family. It's really a shame what happened," Bocuti said.

Bocuti, who is business partners with Ryan's father, created a GoFundMe page to help with the expenses.

"You kind of feel helpless in these situations and you think 'what can I do?" I knew they were going to need money for this so I figured I'd start this and see where it goes. It's been an overwhelming response from the community of people wanting to support Ryan," Bocuti said.

Bocuti said that Ryan has a strength that will get him through the treatment of his burns. He said that Ryan gets seasick very easily but won't take Dramamine for it because he doesn't want to get tired.

"I feel he's got the right spirit for this and if there's anyone who's going to fight through this it's him. He's just got this right combination of stubbornness and he's just a kind compassionate kid with a great upbringing," Bocuti said.

Ryan Jastrzembski and his father Scott Jastrzembski
Ryan Jastrzembski and his father Scott Jastrzembski (Joseph Boccuti)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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