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Blaze horror Teenager in a critical condition in hospital after suffering burns at Belfast bonfire

Footage posted on social media shows the young man running from the fire in flames as spectators screamed in horror.


Bonfire (stock photo)

Bonfire (stock photo)

Bonfire (stock photo)

A teenager was in a critical condition in hospital last night with burns to 40pc of his body and face after catching fire at a Belfast bonfire.

Eyewitnesses say the 17-year-old lifted a canister of petrol to throw at the already ignited bonfire when the flames caught the accelerant dousing him in burning fuel.

Footage posted on social media shows the young man running from the fire in flames as spectators screamed in horror.

One person is heard shouting for him to drop to the ground and roll to extinguish the fire.

Local people watching the bonfire in Silverstream Crescent in north Belfast managed to douse the flames and emergency services treated the teenager at the scene.

One eyewitness said: “He tried to throw a canister of petrol at the bonfire but held on to the can and the flames just shot back at him.

“It was a freak accident, a lot of people ran to help him but you could see straight away the burns were really bad.

“Everyone is thinking of his family and just hoping he makes a recovery.”

The teenager is currently in an induced coma at the Ulster Hospital.

Police have appealed for information, but while an investigation is ongoing it is not thought that any crime has been committed.

Superintendent Nigel Henry said: “Police received a report at around 12.30am that a male had sustained burn injuries.

“As a result of the incident, he sustained burns to his face and body. He remains in hospital for his injuries.

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“Our enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“We are aware that there were a number of people in the area at the time of the incident, so we would appeal to them to come forward to assist with our enquiries.

“We are also aware of social media footage that has been posted online in relation to this incident.

“We would ask that it is not shared, but to contact police with any information they might have.”

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said it had dealt with a “significant increase in emergency calls and mobilisations to bonfire-related incidents”.

There were a total of 378 calls and 81 mobilisations related to bonfires.

Police officers monitored 237 bonfires and 561 parades over the bank holiday weekend, the majority passing off without incident.

Due to tension over the Brexit Protocol and disputes over the bonfire at Tigers Bay in Belfast a contingency plan was in place with water cannon and tactical support units on standby.

Despite the fears, there was no violence and flashpoint interfaces remained calm.

“I am pleased that today has passed without incident,” Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said in a statement, adding that the policing operation would continue “throughout the night”.

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