POLICE and fire officers yesterday urged people not to use accelerants after a young Beechworth man was badly burnt on his face and hands on Sunday night.
The man was burnt when he used diesel to light a bonfire and it exploded.
The man, 22, was yesterday in Wangaratta hospital in a stable condition.
Beechworth’s Leading Sen-Constable Steve Harris said the incident happened on the Wangaratta-Beechworth Road property of the man’s family.
Police, firefighters and paramedics attended.
Sen-Constable Harris said the incident was a reminder to those lighting fires.
“It’s a warning not to use accelerants, or be very careful using them around flames,” he said.
Wodonga CFA duty officer Graeme Neil said while diesel was less volatile than petrol, Sunday night’s incident showed the fuel could be just as hazardous.
“We prefer that people used drier fuel when lighting fires, he said.
“That alleviates the need to put any accelerant on — it’s too dangerous a practice for the general public.”
It comes almost five months after a Holbrook schoolgirl was left with burns to 30 per cent of her body after an aerosol can was thrown into a bonfire at Thurgoona.
Mr Neil said incidents like it were a common.
“But a lot of people get away with it where they don’t get injured and we don’t hear about it,” he said. “I hope it’s not a regular thing.”
Mr Neil urged people to take precautions if they were going to light a bonfire.
“Use appropriate fuel, which is dry timber, and don’t rely on accelerants to make it burn,” he said.
He recommended that people lighting bonfires should register their fire with the CFA burn-off hotline 1800 668 511.
“It’s so people who aren’t aware of it don’t send fire brigades there unnecessarily — it helps the community a lot in that regard,” Mr Neil said.
He said more safety tips could be found at homefiresafety.com.au.