Young man burnt by bonfire

Flames seen from a large bonfire in Nar Nar Goon North.

By Mitchell Clarke

A young man was airlifted to The Alfred hospital after sustaining burns to his body from an out-of-control bonfire at a property in Nar Nar Goon North.

Emergency services were called to a property on Snell Road at about 9.20pm on Saturday 28 November following reports accelerant had been used on a bonfire.

Neighbours raised the alarm after hearing a loud bang before flames erupted.

Two fire trucks from Maryknoll CFA responded to the incident and a small fire was quickly declared under control, but a young man suffered injuries after it is believed he used accelerant on a fire, a CFA spokesperson said.

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman confirmed a teenager was flown to hospital in a serious condition with upper and lower body injuries.

It’s understood the air ambulance landed at the nearby Maryknoll Recreation Reserve.

One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Gazette the large bonfire could be seen from a distance.

“We actually were quite concerned about the size of the flames. With bushfires recently, we were worried this could potentially turn bad,” the neighbour explained.

The neighbour claimed the party continued even after the teenager was airlifted to hospital.

“The music was blaring into the night. It was ridiculous. I can’t believe the party would continue after one of their friends was flown to hospital,” they said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police attended the property after receiving a noise complaint, but upon arrival, the noise had abated.

The CFA said the incident was a timely reminder to reduce the risk of burn-related injuries by being fire safe.

Former CFA chief officer Steve Warrington in June said although it “sounds obvious”, petrol or other liquid fuel should never be used as an accelerant.

“Every year we attend incidents like these, and believe me, they cause significant, lasting injuries to those involved, not just property damage,” he said.

“We’re not saying don’t have an open fire with your mates, just do it safely. Don’t use petrol, make sure you’re able to easily extinguish the fire at the end of the night, be a bit responsible for your friends. Otherwise you might find yourself carrying around the scars of one night’s fun for the rest of your life.”

The Alfred hospital Victorian Adult Burns Service director Heather Cleland said a recent study showed nearly 20 per cent of burns admissions related to accelerant use.

“A large portion of these burns, about 31 per cent, occurred during a leisure activity. And these are serious injuries. Surgery is required in 70 per cent of cases. And tragically, seven per cent of cases were fatal,” Ms Cleland said.

The study showed most at risk were young men in rural communities, aged 20 to 29.

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