Connor liked to spend time with his mates. When the nights got darker, they’d hang out near the shops or the takeaway. Or they’d talk to girls and play music on their phones. Other times they’d just mess about.
One night, one of the lads brought some fireworks to play with. Someone, Connor can’t remember who, lit a firework and dropped it in a wheelie bin on the street.
Nothing happened. Connor went back to have a look.
Suddenly the firework went off and the bin caught light.
The fire got really big, really fast. Flames leapt out and there was loads of thick, black smoke. Then the firework exploded. Connor’s mates ran off. Then he felt his face burning.
Connor wanted to look good in front of his mates. Now he looks like this.
Advice for young people
- Even small fires spread quickly and can turn into something that could hurt you or someone you love- like your little brother or one of your mates
- Playing with fireworks could leave you with burns and scars which will last you for the rest of your life
- When fire engines are out at things like bin and grass fires, they aren’t available to rescue people from house fires. What if there was a fire in your house and your mum was trapped, but firefighters were busy putting out a fire you’d started?
- People starting fires do get caught. As well as landing you in big trouble with your mum or dad, you could end up in prison
Advice for parents
- Know where your children are playing this bonfire period. Is it safe? What are they up to when they’re there?
- Keep matches, lighters and fireworks in a safe place where your kids can’t find them
- Look out for signs your child could be starting fires- things like the smell of smoke on their clothing or lighters in their pockets. Talk to them about the danger of starting fires
Advice for residents
- Help reduce fires by bringing in your bin in off the street as soon as it’s been collected, and only put it out on the morning of collection
- Don’t store things like unwanted sofas and other furniture in your garden- these are an easy target for people wanting to start fires
- If you know someone is starting fires in your area, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Arsonists do get caught and they do get prosecuted
Connor’s story is fictional but the circumstances leading to his injuries are based on research and experience compiled by the police and fire service.