Bonfire Night 2018: Young boy heavily scarred by firework is urging people to stay safe

'I want people to think about how easy it is for something to go wrong'

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Friday 26 October 2018 13:02
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A young boy who was left scarred for life in a firework accident is urging people to act safely on Bonfire Night.

Ben McCabe, from North Lanarkshire, was just four years old when a stray firework from a neighbourhood display landed on him, setting his shirt alight and causing third-degree burns.

He was in hospital for three weeks and had skin grafts to his neck and chest, treatment that is still ongoing seven years later.

Now, the 11-year-old is sharing his story in a bid to warn others to stay safe around fireworks.

“I want people to think about the consequences of setting off these fireworks and how easy it is for something to go wrong when you don’t know what to do,” he said.

As a result of the terrifying experience, McCabe has been unable to watch fireworks and says he copes with the annual event by pretending it’s just like any other day.

“Last bonfire night I managed to make it to the door to look outside but I’m still very scared of them,” he explained.

“I usually sit in my room and pretend it’s just another day.”

Ben was just four years old when a stray firework landed on him 

His mother, Amy, was working as an auxiliary nurse at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow on 5 November 2011, when she received the call from her husband to say Ben had been hit by a firework.

The father and son had been watching a neighbourhood firework display from their street when the incident occurred.

Mrs McCabe said: “The firework headed straight for Ben and went into his shirt, which then caught alight.

Ben was left with third-degree burns and has had skin grafts to his neck and chest (SWNS.COM)

”He was screaming so loud and no one could believe what had just happened. Alan put him into a cold bath until the ambulance came – there was nothing left of his shirt.”

The youngster was drifting in and out of consciousness when she went to see him in A&E.

She added: “As a parent it was killing me inside seeing him like that. I had to try to keep calm for the family – and for Ben.

Now 11, Ben is sharing his story as a warning to others to stay safe 

“He was in hospital for 21 days and still needs skin grafts and massages four times a day to keep the skin’s elasticity and that can be really hard going.

“I am so very proud of my son – he is so much braver than me and anyone I know.”

The family found support from The Scottish Burned Children’s Club and are now backing the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) bonfire safety campaign, which urges people to attend organised displays.

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SFRS deputy assistant chief officer John Miller said: “We are appealing to the public to attend organised events rather than do-it-yourself bonfires and fireworks displays.

“Our firefighters work extremely hard to engage with people of all ages and equip them with the knowledge and the awareness of how to stay safe around bonfires and fireworks.”

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