Freak accident at family firework party in Wrexham

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

A THREE-year-old boy received these horrific injuries when hot wax fell onto him from a Chinese lantern.

Cael Jones’ family is now calling for the lanterns to be banned after he sustained the injuries at a family fireworks party on Friday.

His mum Emma Foulkes, of Ffordd Llanerch, Penycae, said: “It’s shocking what happened. It was the worst night of my life.

“A lantern got to about the height of the roof when the oil burner bit – about the size of the palm of your hand – fell onto Cael’s face.

“The oil got stuck on his face and his face was black. Everyone was screaming. He couldn’t open his eyes.”

The frantic family rushed Cael into the kitchen and douses the burns with water and a cool cloth.

He was then rushed to the Wrexham Maelor Hospital where he was given painkillers and morphine before being discharged.

Emma and Cael’s dad Terry Williams, hope the burns will not leave a scar on the youngster’s face.

Emma said: “I want people to realise how dangerous the lanterns are.

“I only thought of the fireworks as dangerous but the burning wax just dropped on him.

“When my family see Cael they just break down in tears because it looks so bad.”

Terry, who was not at the gathering at a house on Afoneitha Road, Penycae, said: “I was gutted about what happened.

“These lanterns shouldn’t be on the shelf if they’re not safe.

“If they can’t make them safe they should be banned.”

Despite the ordeal Cael has been coping well but will be off nursery for a week.

“He was upset when he couldn’t open his eyes but was a lot better when he could open one of them,” said Emma.

The family had set off about 20 of the lanterns and the children at the gathering were making a wish on each one.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has issued a safety warning about the lanterns.

A statement said: “The lanterns, which are increasingly being used at wedding ceremonies and other celebratory events, do present a number of associated problems.

“Made of paper, they are able to float through the air due to their light weight and the heat generated by the small candle or oil inside.”

Andy Robb, county partnership manager with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “These lanterns are popular but we are appealing to the public to be aware of the possible fire hazards of Chinese fire lanterns and therefore the need to be careful when handling them.

“Make sure that no-one is standing underneath when they are set up as there is a possibility that this oil or wax can tip over and cause injury.”

Paul Whybro, county safety manager for the fire service, said: “From a fire point of view I don’t condone the use of these because of all the risks involved.

“In this instance a young person has been injured and there are other risks with them.

“I don’t like the idea of a floating burning candle.

“In other cases the metal dropped has caused issues for livestock and some released on the coast are mistaken for distress flares.

“There are other ways to send lights off into the sky which are not burning candles.”
 

See full story in the Leader

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