Regan Schoultz is an NZME news service reporter based in Auckland.

Air freshener can explosion: 'I felt it and thought the fire place itself has exploded'

20-year-old Brad Stevens, who works as a farrier, had lit a fire to dry his work boots when the incident happened. Photos / Supplied
20-year-old Brad Stevens, who works as a farrier, had lit a fire to dry his work boots when the incident happened. Photos / Supplied

An exploding can of air freshener almost cost Bradley Stevens the tip of his nose when flying shrapnel hit him in the face.

The 20-year-old, who works as a farrier, was house sitting for his boss at a property outside of Cambridge and had lit a fire to dry his work boots when the incident happened just before 7pm on Monday.

"I was sitting on the couch about 7 or 8 meters away just reading a magazine and watching TV and then I heard this bang and just sort of looked up and was hit in the face. I didn't know at the time what it was."

The object, an aerosol can, had been sitting on top of the fire place. The heat from the fire caused it to explode hitting Mr Stevens in the face.

"I felt it [hit me] and thought the fire place itself has exploded. I saw there was heaps of blood on my hands.. and got outside. I had my phone on me so I just rung 111," he said.

"[Later] I saw the air freshener can was on the ground and then I looked at the fireplace and thought the fire is still alright so I went up closer and had a look. [The can] was in one of those automatic dispensers and you could see half of that had melted."

Mr Stevens suffered a deep cut to his bottom lip, a gash in his top lip and almost lost the tip of his nose.

"I knew straight away that it was quite bad because of the amount of blood. While I was waiting for people to turn up I had a walk to the bathroom and had a look."

After calling emergency services Mr Stevens was told help could be up to 30 minutes away.

"I was sitting there waiting and I actually rung my work mate.. luckily he came round and sat with me. Then I rung mum and she came over."

He was taken by rescue helicopter to Waikato Hospital where he spent the following 24 hours before undergoing facial surgery yesterday morning.

"It has all been stitched up now. [I'm feeling] pretty sore."

In just over a week Mr Stevens will head back to hospital and will have the stitches removed. Two weeks later he'll see a plastic surgeon and may need further surgery, though he hopes it won't be necessary.

"I should be alright. I don't know what they will do on my top lip because some people have said it will heal but others have said they might have to do a graft on it."

Mr Stevens is now back in Matamata at home recovering and said the situation could have been much worse.

"It was pretty close to my eyes and my throat. I was pretty thankful that I was reading a magazine and my head was down. If my head would have been up, it could have been my throat."

- NZ Herald

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