Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Boy hit with firework tells of his terror

A 14-year-old boy has spoken of his terror after a lit firework landed in his lap and exploded.

Joseph Gillen from Londonderry was left with burns to his leg and groin in the incident last Friday night.

The St Joseph’s Boys School pupil said the firework came over a wall as he was speaking with friends in the Rosemount estate.

“I was just sitting there, then it landed on me with the fuse lit and just a wee bit to go.

“Then it exploded and I collapsed. I couldn’t speak or nothing when I came around.

“It had burned a hole in my tracksuit bottoms, jacket and T-shirt.”

He was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital and is now recovering at home.

He said the ordeal had left him badly shaken.

“I had this ringing in my ears that night and the next day and I couldn’t sleep. Every time now I hear a bang I just shoot straight up.

“The doctors said it would take a month or two to heal.”

In an appeal to youths in the city, Joseph said: “It is stupid to be letting fireworks off in the first place.” His father, also called Joseph, added: “He was very lucky. Where it hit him I thought it was just the inside of his leg but then he showed me the rest of it. He is lucky he is not dead.”

Mr Gillen praised the actions of a local woman who rushed to throw water over his son’s burning clothes.

He added: “I didn’t know fireworks could be this dangerous and I urge parents and young people out there to realise how dangerous these things are.”

The PSNI has said if the culprit is caught the person will be charged with grievous bodily harm.

A neighbourhood policing spokesman said: “Anyone injuring someone in this way is going to face very serious consequences.

“The level of injury is such you are causing permanent disfigurement.”

In a separate incident in Derry, a boy needed surgery to his hand after a firework exploded while he was holding it.

It’s thought he bought the firework from an older child.

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