Families involved in City Church fireworks accident do not blame church

Six people were burned after a fireworks display shot into a crowd in Christchurch. One of those was a four-year-old boy who suffered second- and third-degree burns.

His family has spoken out to encourage people to be safe this Guy Fawkes.

The fun night of fireworks in Christchurch turned into a horror show. Fireworks shot into the crowd directly into a group of children in the front row. Among them was four-year-old Mason. 

The fireworks burned through his T-shirt and jersey. He was left with second- and third-degree burns to his arm and stomach.

"About 10 seconds into it some fireworks started going off to the left of me and started to spray into the crowd," said Mason's father, Leon Timaloa.

Mason was still in Christchurch Hospital. He's had burnt skin removed and he may need skin grafts.

Six people, including at least four children, were hurt.

Twelve-year-old Britney Roberts was among those hurt. She made a quick decision to pick up a baby that was near her when the fireworks shot into the crowd. As she ran protecting the baby in her arms, she was hit in the leg.

"I just grabbed the little kid and ran," she said.

The mother of that baby thanked her on Saturday, calling Britney a hero.

"Terrifying - it was the worst thing I've ever seen," said Melissa Trindon. 

The fireworks display was organised by City Church Christchurch. It said it was investigating what went wrong. It also offered its apologies, especially to those who were hurt.

Witnesses told Newshub barriers were in place, but said the fireworks were placed on gravel and may have toppled over when lit.

"I don't hold any grudges towards the church because it was an awesome evening before it all happened," said Beka Roberts, Britney Roberts's mother.

"No ill will against that - it's just that one of those freak accidents," said Mr Timaloa.

None of the parents Newshub spoke to blamed the church, but they hoped everyone learned from the horrific incident and took extra safety precautions on Saturday and Sunday.

"Make sure they're in a safe place," said Mr Timaloa.

Fireworks sellers Newshub spoke to said sales were up this year. One contributing factor was thought to be that fewer public displays were planned this year.