Mother warns families after son burned by fireworks

THREE-year-old Evan Maunder just wanted to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks with his family.

He left Queens Park on Saturday night in pain, after the shell off one of the explosives flew out and hit his arm during the display.

His mother Kate told The Chronicle the family was sitting at the top of the hill when the incident occurred.

"We were sitting along the tree line at the top of the hill behind the inflatable rides," she said.

"The fireworks had only just begun, about a minute or two in (when it happened).

"He began screaming sitting in his pram. He was very upset, like he'd been hurt.

"I thought maybe an ant had bitten him or he was frightened by the sounds of the fireworks."

The burn marks left on Evan Maunder after a rogue shell hit him during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Queen's Park.
The burn marks left on Evan Maunder after a rogue shell hit him during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Queen's Park.

The red-hot cardboard shell hit Evan on the arm from a significant distance, but Ms Maunder said the incident could have been a lot worse.

"What if that had been an infant in a pram? There were a lot younger children there, sitting around us," she said.

Evan's burn was superficial and he was okay, she said.

Thousands of patrons crowded on and around the hill at the park to watch the fireworks, which lasted for at least 15 minutes from about 8pm.

The shell was just part of the debris that fell into the crowd, according to Ms Maunder.

"There were people near the taped-off line a few metres in front of us who were really close to large chunks of flaming debris," she said.

"I didn't see anyone else get hurt, but I thought we were in a safe spot next to a tree, further back from the front."

When asked if she thought the set-up for fireworks should change next year, Ms Maunder wasn't sure if it was possible.

"I don't think people could move back more if they taped it all off further back - we'd all be down the hillside," she said.

"The top of the hill is the best place to see them."

The rogue shell that hit Evan Maunder during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Queen's Park.
The rogue shell that hit Evan Maunder during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Queen's Park.

The event was sponsored and organised by Toowoomba Regional Council, which hosted plenty of attractions at the park aside from fireworks.

Toowoomba Regional Council tourism and events portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said any incidents needed to be reported to council.

"Council will follow up any incident that may have occurred - it's our duty to public safety," he said.

"All reports are taken very seriously, but if incidents happens they need to be reported."



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