A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy who suffered severe burns to most of his body while playing on a city street remained in a critical condition in hospital last night.
Preston Flores was found “on fire” by neighbours while playing with friends in Aberdeen on Friday afternoon. He was transferred to Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children for specialist treatment yesterday.
Witnesses said they saw the boy running down Aberdeen’s Bedford Avenue on fire from the neck down, with melted remnants of his clothes stuck to his flesh. It is thought petrol was involved, but police have said they have no evidence of any deliberate act.
Preston is said to have suffered 70 per cent burns to his body.
It is believed he had been playing with friends outside while his mother, Luisza Flores, had gone to the shops. She had just returned from her errand when neighbours ran to her house to alert her to Preston’s injuries.
Residents said the mother-of-five collapsed on the ground when she saw her badly burned son. She was given oxygen by paramedics and taken to hospital in the same ambulance which transported Preston to hospital. He was later transferred from Aberdeen to the intensive therapy unit at the specialist children’s hospital in the capital. Police yesterday visited homes on Bedford Avenue to interview witnesses.
Chief inspector Nick Topping, the local Police Scotland area commander, said: “We are grateful for the continued assistance we have received from the local community to help us piece together the events leading up to this incident.
“We have spoken to a number of residents about what they saw or heard, which has been very helpful and important to our inquiry.
“I can confirm that the young boy who was injured is seven-year-old Preston Flores.
“We can advise that he was transferred last night from Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital to the ITU at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. We understand he is still in a critical condition.
“Our investigation into this tragic incident will continue today. I would reiterate that so far there has been no evidence of any deliberate act.”
Friends of the boy and his family took to social networking sites to express their concern for his wellbeing.
Writing on the Facebook page of Preston’s older brother Leroy, one friend said: “Hope wee Preston’s okay. He’s a little fighter.”
A relative, who did not want to be named but who saw Preston before he was taken to hospital, said: “I’ve never seen anything so horrible in my whole life.
“I ran out and saw him running up the street in flames, they were covering his whole body. His clothes were half burnt off him and half sticking to him. It was awful. I was in floods of tears.”
Some eyewitnesses said local children had been playing with a petrol canister sitting unattended on a lorry – believed to belong to the city council – which was parked nearby.
A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council said: “We are currently assisting police with their enquiries.
“Our thoughts are with the boy and his family.”