Methylated spirits used in fire pit explosion
PARAMEDICS have warned people against using accelerants in fireplaces this winter after a teenager was left fighting for life with burns to 60 per cent of his body from an explosion at his waterfront home in Port Stephens.
The family had gathered around the metal "fire pit" on their back patio on Sunday when it is believed somebody stoked the fire with methylated spirits, causing the blast just after 5pm.
NSW Ambulance crews were called to a "person on fire" at the Corlette address and arrived to find five patients suffering burns outside the house.
The family's 16-year-old son bore the brunt of the flames, suffering massive burns to his face, arms and torso. He was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital where he remained in a critical condition this afternoon.
The teenager ran into the ocean just metres from the front of the home in an attempt to douse his wounds.
His father also received burns to his legs and torso and was also flown to Sydney, along with a women in her 40s.
Two others, a man and woman in their 40s, were also treated at the scene for burns to their face and torso and taken to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition.
One family friend said the close-knit community was "in shock" today as news spread of the teenager's horrific injuries.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Andrew Steenson said paramedics did their best to relieve the child's pain and ensure there were no burns to his airways.
"The warning is only use timber and items designed to be burnt," Insp Steenson said.
"We do deal with a lot of these types of injuries, especially at camp locations.
"We saw that over Easter, we were called to several incidents where people had been burnt by accelerants poured on fire."