Father of boy exposed to toxic substance at bonfire speaks of relief at his recovery

Cameron Dickson, who was at the bonfire site at the weekend, gradually became sicker and has been in intensive care in hospital for the last four days. Pacemaker Belfast
Cameron Dickson, who was at the bonfire site at the weekend, gradually became sicker and has been in intensive care in hospital for the last four days. Pacemaker Belfast

The father of a Belfast schoolboy who had been fighting for his life after being exposed to a toxic substance at a bonfire has said he plans to ‘spoil’ his son when he gets him home from hospital.

Nine-year-old Cameron Dickson had been playing on wasteground near a bonfire site on Glenwood Street near the Shankill when he came into contact with hazardous material in a drum.

At first his family thought he had a chest infection until a friend pointed out his syptoms were abnormal and should be checked out.

The schoolboy was taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children was on a ventilator in a critical condition following the incident. However overnight he made a recovery and was yesterday said to be ‘unconscious but stable’.

His father Harry told Cool FM: “We really were helpless. It is our job to protect our son – it is every parent’s job to protect their child.

“But when your child’s lying there and can’t breathe and is relying on machinery and there’s absolutely nothing you can do. You are paralysed.”

With the news that Cameron is now in a stable condition, his family are now desperate to get him home and “spoil him”.

He added: “We were expecting the worse, thankfully he is stable now, he’s coming out of it.

“I am looking forward to getting him awake, getting him home and probably getting a Big Mac down him. He has not eaten God love him in nearly five days, so I’ll be letting him do what he wants for a few days and spoiling him.”

Police and the fire service have cleared the bonfire site where a number of drums containing a hazardous substance were dumped.

Inspector Laura Kelly urged parents whose children who have in the area to seek medical advice if their children display symptoms.

She said: “We are asking any other parents to keep an eye on their children, if they have any symptoms, redness of eyes, sore throats, coughing, any problems breathing to see medical advice immediately.

“Those symptoms can take up to 36 hours to develop, so there is a possibility there may have been other children in and around that area and we just want to make sure they are OK.”