Doctors treating a Ballymena boy who suffered horrific burns after accidentally catching fire at home are to reduce his level of sedation today in the hope of stabilising his condition.
Bradley Spiers (4) last night remained in a critical condition at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children after suffering serious burns in an incident involving a candle on Friday.
His mother, Leanne Carson, has maintained a 24-hour vigil at her young son’s bedside since the trauma of the unexplained accident.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from Bradley’s Larne Road home yesterday, the little boy’s aunt Nikki — Leanne’s sister — said the family was still unclear about how he caught fire.
The youngster was rushed to hospital after neighbours raised the alarm when they spotted him on fire on the street near his home.
Nikki said they still don’t know exactly what happened to Bradley, but hope that this week will bring good news about his condition.
She said: “Leanne is in an awful state of shock and Bradley is still heavily sedated, but the doctors hope to reduce that this week. We are still not sure what happened. All we know for sure is that Bradley came home from school and was lying on the sofa having a nap so Leanne took the chance and popped across the street for a few groceries.
“The shop is less than 100 yards away and she knew she would only be a few minutes, but the noise of the back door opening must have woke Bradley.
“We don’t know what happened next, whether he lit the candle and it caught him, but he now has 20% burns to his chest and arms — not the 80% that has been reported.”
Nikki said her sister is in “a real state of shock”.
“She hasn’t left his bedside since it happened,” she said.
“We are taking a change of clothes and things to her, but the only people who have been allowed into the room are Bradley’s mother, father and his granny.
“We just wait by the phone for whatever news we can get, but it’s hard.”
Nikki has a close bond with her nephew and regularly takes him and her own son to the playing fields for a game of football.
“Bradley is just your average four-year-old boy, he is full of beans and was so excited about starting school,” she said.
“Leanne has the picture that was taken of his first day pinned up on the fridge door and you can see from the big grin how happy he is.
“He is mad about football — I often go to the playing field with Bradley and my own son and let them kick a ball around,” she added.
“Hopefully it won’t be too long before we are all doing that again.”
Meanwhile, one of the neighbours who saw the boy running for help in flames has spoken of his distress.
Wesley Luke was having a cup of tea with his mother when she saw Bradley on fire from their living room window.
“My mother said: ‘Look, that wee boy is on fire’, and two seconds later I had the door opened and was outside,” he said.
“At almost the same time a woman was walking by and she immediately grabbed the little boy and rolled him on the ground and another man driving past had stopped his van and came running over.
“I ran back into the house and filled a basin with cold water and grabbed clothes so we could keep him cool.
“Someone else had by this time called an ambulance and it was there within four minutes.
“When he turned his head I recognised him as the wee boy from across the way, and then I saw his mother.
“I can only guess how she is because I can’t get the poor wee lad out of my mind, and my mother is the same,” he added. “It’s not something I would ever want to see again. I will never forget it.”