Update: Boy in critical condition after toxic substance dumped at bonfire site

A bonfire on the Shankill Road in Belfast on 'Eleventh night'. Photo by Niall Carson/PA Wire
A bonfire on the Shankill Road in Belfast on 'Eleventh night'. Photo by Niall Carson/PA Wire

A young boy is in a critical condition after coming into contact with a hazardous substance left at a bonfire site in north Belfast.

The PSNI are investigating the dumping of drums at a bonfire site in Glenwood Street as the boy remains in intensive care in Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children.

His mother had contacted police after he fell ill at the bonfire site where he came into contact with a toxic substance.

Police, who attended the scene yesterday with the NI Fire and Rescue Service, said drums containing unknown substances had been dumped there.

Inspector Laura Kelly said: “We received a call from a member of the public earlier today, who was concerned that their young son, who is currently receiving treatment in hospital, may have come into contact with some sort of substance at the bonfire site.

“We immediately began an investigation into this incident and are working with our Fire and Rescue Service colleagues and partner agencies to identify the source of these containers and have them safely removed.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have any information about the material which has been left at this site to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 296 of 24 May 2017. Alternatively, information can be given anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

DUP Councillor Frank McCoubrey condemned those who dumped the hazardous waste.

Alderman McCoubrey said: “As we approach the summer young people are beginning to gather material at bonfire sites. There is absolutely no excuse however for anyone to use a bonfire site as a dumping ground for hazardous materials or to dispose of tyres.

“In this case a child has been hospitalised because of whatever substances were dumped at this site. I would appeal for anyone who witnessed the material being left at the site to pass on any information to the police.

“My thoughts are with the child and hope they make a full and speedy recovery.”