Boy, 11, suffers horrific burns while playing with lighter and aerosol
A MOTHER says her 11-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after he was horrifically burnt when playing with a lighter and an aerosol.
The can blew up causing 45 per cent burns to Owen Shepherd's face, arms, hands and legs.
Now he must undergo skin grafts to repair some of the damage.
Speaking to the Mail from her son's bedside in hospital, Hayley Shepherd said he was saved only by the quick actions of a passerby, who rolled him in snow to put out the flames.
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She said: "If she had not put him out, he would not be here today. I want to say 'thank-you' to her for finding him and looking after him.
"It was terrible. It was touch and go for a while at the hospital."
Owen had been playing near Belgrave Flats in Bridlington when he accidentally set himself alight.
He was taken by an RAF helicopter to a specialist burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
The Sea King collected Owen from the grounds of Hilderthorpe Primary School.
Hayley, 42, said: "I was shopping in Morrisons and I got a phone call saying he was on fire.
"I never want to have to go through that again."
Hayley arrived at the scene, off South Marine Drive, in time to board the helicopter with her son, a pupil of Bridlington Sports College.
Hayley has not left her son's side since the accident on Thursday afternoon.
Doctors will this week graft skin on to his legs to repair some of the damage.
Hayley thinks Owen is showing signs of improvement.
She said: "He's talking. He seems to be on the mend. He's eating and drinking and looking better but it's a long recovery.
"It will take about two years for him to fully recover."
Humberside Police Chief Inspector Alan Farrow, said the accident was not being investigated.
He said: "I don't think it was deliberate, it was an accident.
"It would appear the 11-year-old boy has got an aerosol can and started mucking around with it. It highlights the dangers of young people playing with fire and solvents.
"These things are clearly not meant to be burnt."
He warned aerosols can be deadly if misused.
Chief Insp Farrow said: "They are a legitimate product with a legitimate use.
"Our concern would be about the potential dangers to health and any subsequent damage caused by fire.
"There is no suggestion he was trying to burn anything or cause any criminal damage."
Daryl Oprey, head of safety at Humberside Fire and Rescue, said he wished the boy a speedy recovery.
He said: "Incidents such as these are always very saddening.
"I urge parents and carers to educate children about the potential dangers of playing with lighters or matches.
"They can be very dangerous, especially if there are flammable liquids or materials in close proximity.
"If there are any parents or carers who are concerned that their child may be playing with such materials, contact Humberside Fire and Rescue Service as we can offer advice and, if needed, fire-setting intervention work."
It is not the first time a child has been injured by a flaming aerosol can.
In 2009, Abigail Brodie, four, had a lucky escape when an aerosol can, thrown into a fire at friend's home in Tyne Street, west Hull, exploded, leaving her with serious burns to her face, arms, legs and stomach.
Two years prior to that, a 12-year-old boy was treated for minor burns after a flaming aerosol can was thrown at him as he walked through Dene Woods in Cottingham.