A 16-year-old boy is fighting for his life after suffering critical burns in a backyard fire pit explosion north of Newcastle.
Four other people were also injured, pushing fire crews to issue a blunt warning to spare another family the same pain.
Described as a fun-loving teen, Hugh Haxton and his father Alex are among the five people injured in Sunday’s explosion.
On Monday, a singed awning was the only indication of what happened when methylated spirits was poured onto an open fire.
“It was actually quite confusing at the scene because there were multiple locations where the patients were,” Andrew Steenson from NSW Ambulance said.
Hugh, 16, had run into the water to put out the flames that burnt 60 per cent of his body.
Others jumped into showers, with one victim being treated by a witness with a hose.
- Police caught on video kicking suspect in the face
- Crocodile attack survivor recalls tragedy that killed best friend
- Rental property trashed by 50 youths in out of control party
Three victims remain at Royal North Shore Hospital, including Hugh, who is listed as critical.
The accident has prompted a warning about the danger of using accelerants on open fires during winter.
“Anyone standing nearby has the potential to be hurt or injured,” Fire & Rescue NSW’s Stephen Brown said.
“Never use accelerant to start a fire.”
Friends have taken to social media to wish Hugh and the other victims well.
“Our hearts are with you Hughy,” one wrote.
From another, “Love you brother, stay strong.”