A father has described the terrifying moment his four-year-old son received second and third degree burns when a church fireworks display went wrong last night, injuring six.
Leon Timaloa, his wife Kim and their sons, seven-year-old Jackson and Mason, 4, were at City Church's Family Fireworks Night in Christchurch's Manchester St when the frightening incident unfolded.
Mason was sitting in the front row behind a barrier about 15 to 20 metres from where the fireworks were being let off.
First they saw some going off in a different direction, before the fireworks began coming their way.
Mason began screaming.
"I could see embers [on him], I thought 'holy hell'. We were just yanking at him to get his clothes off him as fast as we could," Timaloa said.
Mason was wearing three layers - a singlet, t-shirt and hunting jersey - but the firework burned through and he had burns to his arm and abdomen area.
Most of the burns were second-degree, but some were judged to be third-degree and Mason may need skin grafts in future.
But the family were feeling positive.
"We are just glad it wasn't his face."
He will have surgery at Christchurch Hospital today to prevent infection, Timaloa said.
Immediately after the incident Timaloa carried his son to a first aid station at the front of the church and he was hosed down and glad wrap applied before an ambulance arrived.
His son was tired, but doing well today, even taking a walk in Hagley Park before his surgery, Timaloa said.
"He's tough as nails."
The nurse who treated Mason at the first aid area had called to check on his health, apologised on behalf of the church and said a care package was on the way.
Timaloa had read negative comments about the event online, but his family did not hold a grudge against the church.
Before the event the public were briefed about what was going to happen and where the first aid area was, if needed, he said.
City Church wrote on their Facebook page the event was immediately stopped when the incident occurred. They apologised and said they were investigating what happened.
A WorkSafe spokeswoman told Newstalk ZB an inspector is also making inquiries.