Flare narrowly missed 10-year-old football fan's eye

2 weeks ago 22

Levi Rennie

Image caption,

Levi Rennie faces a wait of over a year to see if he requires a skin graft

By Graeme Ogston and Steven Godden

BBC Scotland News

A 10-year-old football fan has said he was "absolutely terrified" after being struck on the head by a flare during a match in Perth.

Levi Rennie was injured after the flare was set off in the away section during Dundee's match with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

It missed his eye by millimetres and burned the youngster's cheek.

Police Scotland said a 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Dundee fan Levi, from Tayport in Fife, was treated in hospital and faces a wait of more than a year to see if he requires a skin graft.

He was playing a drum at the start of the match when he was struck by the pyrotechnic.

Image source, Sherree Rennie

Image caption,

Levi sustained a burn above his left eye from the pyrotechnic

His mother Sherree said it had "turned a good day into a pretty horrific one", adding: "I saw him drop his head down and I thought something's not right.

"Some of the guys had pulled him out and I could hear him screaming hysterically. He was saying "I'm burning, I'm burning.""

Levi said: "I didn't really know what was happening but I was absolutely terrified, I didn't know what to do.

"I was petrified, I could hardly see.

"Once I got out into the fresh air it cooled down a bit, but it was burnt."

Image caption,

Levi's mum Sherree said the incident had "turned a good day into a pretty horrific one"

Sherree said Levi was immediately treated by a "horrified" paramedic.

She said: "He was still hysterical, one side of his face was completely black.

"She started wiping his face and we realised there was a burn on top of his head.

"We didn't realise it had hit him and it went into his hoodie, all we could smell was burning and it was a horrible smell."

Levi was treated at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Image source, Sherree Rennie

Sherree said: "They can't do anything until it's healed, which is 12-18 months.

"If it doesn't heal properly then the next thing would be a skin graft, which we don't want him to go through.

"Had it been a couple of millimetres lower we could have been looking at extensive surgery and the potential of him losing his eye completely."

Levi said he was feeling "a wee bit better" but was currently "a bit wary" about going back to an away game.

He said: "I used to like them (flares), they looked really cool but what people need to see is the dangers of what could happen with them.

"You're pulling a pin and you think it's just powder, but there's fire and you don't know what's in them."

Sherree said: "He just loves being a part of it and I think if we just stop it, it's not going to help him, so we need to encourage him to go back.

"He is so passionate and he gets a lot from it and i don't want it taken away because of this."

Image source, SNS

Image caption,

Blue smoke was seen coming from among the Dundee fans in the away section of McDiarmid Park

Police said a further four people aged 13, 15, and two aged 17, were also arrested over pyrotechnics at the game.

Last June, new legislation made it a criminal offence to possess fireworks and flares at football grounds.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) called the incident "a deplorable and reckless act."

They added: "We await the delegate report and will be liaising with both clubs and Police Scotland on this matter."

'Saddened and concerned'

A St Johnstone spokesperson said the club was "extremely saddened and concerned" at the incident and wished Levi "a speedy recovery."

The club said it was working with Dundee FC and the authorities to identify those involved.

Dundee FC said action would be taken against any individuals who brought pyrotechnics into football stadiums.

A spokesperson said: "The club have been in touch directly with the family of the young supporter to check on his condition and will be arranging something special for him with the players and coaches."

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