Police have charged a 10-year-old boy after his eight-year-old friend was badly burned in Mount Isa, in north-west Queensland over the weekend.
In a serious but stable condition in Townsville hospital, the eight-year-old boy is suffering from burns to 35 per cent of his body, including his legs and back.
Speaking with ABC news, Detective Senior Sergeant Alex McBroom said three boys were playing in the backyard of an abandoned house in Mount Isa just before 6:00pm on Saturday.
“A tyre was set alight during the incident, an accelerant has been poured upon the tyre, which was already burning, which caused the eight-year-old’s clothes to catch alight in a flare-up caused by the sudden application of the accelerant,” he said.
When the boy ran into out into the street, a woman hosed him down until paramedics arrived.
“He was treated by a female person, a witness – she applied some water to him. From our investigation it would indicate that she provided significant assistance and it could have been much worse.”
Senior Sergeant McBroom said it was essential that parents knew where their children were at all times and supervised them accordingly.
“That’s not to apportion blame in this case, but the children were unsupervised at the time,” he said. “They’ve been able to access a quantity of fuel … [and] fuel and fire is a very, very dangerous recipe, as we know.”
Matthew Steer, Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman told the ABC that the woman who soaked the boy in water with a garden hose helped significantly with the injuries.
“Her actions … potentially saved him some significant complications in the future,” he said. “[She] had done everything right and significantly limited the scope of the burns that could have occurred. He had a combination of superficial, partial and full-thickness burns.”
The injured boy suffered burns to his legs, buttocks, back and part of his left arm.
A 10-year-old has been charged with negligent acts causing harm, wilful damage by fire, trespass and stealing.
He will be dealt with under the Youth Justice Act.
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