A teenager from Kirkby whose clothes caught fire after an aerosol was thrown on to a bonfire is urging young people to stay safe over the bonfire period.
Following his ordeal, Curtis Delacour, 16, is now backing Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s campaign urging young people not to build bonfires but to attend an organised fireworks display.
The teenager was out with friends near a bonfire that had been built in Northwood Forest Hills in Kirkby, not far from his home, when the incident happened.
He was carrying a canister of petrol, which had no lid, when someone threw an aerosol can on to the bonfire.
The bonfire exploded and he fell backwards causing petrol to spill over his clothes. Vapour from the petrol ignited, setting his clothes on fire.
Curtis said: “Someone threw deodorant into the fire and it exploded.
“As it exploded, I fell backwards with the can of petrol in my hands and it had no lid on.
“The petrol went all over me and my clothes caught fire.
“I was scared. I thought it was going to burn to death and was panicking.
“I took my top off but couldn’t get my jeans off and rolled on the floor and it went out.
“The top I was wearing had burned but luckily I got that off on time but my jeans were stuck to my leg.
“I ran home. My aunty wrapped wet towels around my legs and called an ambulance.”
After initially being taken to Aintree Hospital he was then transferred to Whiston Hospital.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) received a call following the incident earlier this year. MF&RS Arson Reduction Advocate Carol Peeney later visited his home to offer fire safety advice.
The teenager was left with a 27cm burn on the top of one of his legs and the back of his thigh, which will leave him with a scar for life.
He was also burnt on the top of his other leg and has scars from burns to his hands.
Curtis, who has now started a college course, said: “I was stupid for playing with fire. It was scary.
“I would say to other people don’t do it, it’s stupid. You think that you’re not going to get burnt. I didn’t think it was that easy for petrol to explode.
“I used to always light fires there and nothing ever happened but then this happened. I won’t go near fire again.
“I’m safer when I do something now and I think of the dangers.”
Curtis is highlighting his experience as part of an MF&RS campaign to keep other young people safe over the bonfire period.
Watch Manager Ian Mullen, MF&RS Arson Reduction Co-ordinator, said: “This is an example of how bonfires can get out of control very easily and have consequences that people have to live with for the rest of their lives.
“Curtis was injured in this incident, however the consequences could have been much worse. I hope other people will learn from his experience and that we can help prevent further fires like this.
“Young people are urged not to build bonfires and to go to an organised fireworks display.
“People should never throw aerosols on bonfires as they can explode. They should also never carry petrol near bonfires as vapours from the petrol can easily catch fire.
“Fires in woodland or grassland areas can spread easily and can be unpredictable.”
For free fire safety advice or to report an unlit bonfire call 0800 731 5958. Fire safety advice is also available atwww.merseyfire.gov.uk.
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