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A six-year-old boy is in hospital with horrific burns on his face after a neighbourhood bully allegedly targeted him in a brutal attack on Sunday.
Heartbreaking photos show young Dominick Krankall, from Connecticut in the US, covered in bandages with second and third-degree burns after he was deliberately set on fire, his family claim.
The young boy's older sister, Kayla Deegan, said another kid, believed to be eight years old, covered a ball in gasoline, lit it on fire, and threw it at Dominick, hitting him in the face.
Seconds later he ran around the corner in a ball of flames screaming: "Mummy they lit me on fire," Ms Deegan told local news.
Emergency workers found Dominick with "severe wounds" and he was rushed to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit, FOX 5 News reported.
Ongoing issue: 'Bullied for a while'
It's not the young boy's first run-in with the bullies, according to Ms Deegan, who said the neighbours have been bullying him "for a while".
"[This time] it escalated to a deadly intent," she wrote online.
"He’s going to be scarred for life mentally and physically," she added.
Ms Deegan said seeing her little brother "like this makes me want to break down".
"He can barely sleep, he can barely eat, he can barely talk. It’s just not fair," she said.
Bridgeport Police are investigating after reports from witnesses who saw unsupervised children playing with gasoline and lighting objects on fire.
The alleged bully's mum has reportedly disputed all claims.
"We hope concerned people will wait before drawing conclusions or making assumptions about what happened until officials have made their determinations," she said in a statement to FOX5 News.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by Ms Deegan to help raise funds for the family.
They are hoping to move away from the neighbourhood because "it's not safe here" and hope the money raised could help them buy a new home.
The family have received an outpouring of support from the community and have managed to raise over A$363,000 – despite a goal of just A$63,000.
'Months' before he can walk outside again
On Wednesday, Ms Deegan said Dominick "is doing a little better" but he's still struggling to eat or talk.
"He could only handle a few bites, but that is some good news. He will sip soup out of a straw as well," she said.
"He’s such a tough little cookie. The bravest six-year-old I’ve ever known."
She suspects it'll be months until he's able to walk outside again, no less ride a bike or play basketball as he loved to do.
"It breaks my heart over and over again. My poor baby is in pain every day and there isn’t much we can do," she wrote.
"Being an older sister and so close to your siblings, seeing my baby brother like this is absolutely heart-wrenching. No baby should have to lay in a hospital bed like this."
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