Young boy badly burnt by firework urges people to stay safe on bonfire night

A boy left scarred for life by a rogue firework has urged people to act safely on Bonfire Night.

Ben McCabe, of Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, was just four when a stray firework from a neighbourhood display landed on him, causing third-degree burns.

Illegal fireworks

Illegal fireworks

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

Now 11, Ben wants others to stay safe around fireworks.

He said: "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."

After his terrifying experience, Ben was unable to watch fireworks until last year.

He said: "Last Bonfire Night I managed to make it to the door to look outside but I'm still very scared of them.

"I usually sit in my room and pretend it's just another day."

His mother, Amy, was on shift as an auxiliary nurse at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow on November 5, 2011, when her husband called her to say her son was being brought in as he had been hit by a firework.

Ben and his father had been watching a neighbourhood firework display from their street when he was hit.

Mrs McCabe, now 42, said: "The firework headed straight for Ben and went into his shirt, which then caught alight.

"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 consciousness when she went to see him at A&E.

She said: "I know what it's like being on the other side and what to look for but 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.

"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."

She added: "I am so very proud of my son - he is so much braver than me and anyone I know."

The family is backing the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) bonfire safety campaign, which urges people to attend organised displays.

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."