Tyne & Wear

Aerosol burns victim Connor Rowntree wins bravery award

Connor Rowntree meets singer Katy Perry
Image caption Connor received a BBC Teen Hero Award from pop star Katy Perry in 2010

A teenager who suffered 90% burns while playing with an aerosol is to receive an award after warning thousands of children of the dangers of fire.

Connor Rowntree was playing with the aerosol at friend's home in Houghton-le-Spring in 2009 when he was engulfed in flames. He endured 100 operations.

His parents Carol and Neil were told his chances of survival were "zero".

But two years on Connor, 17, has fronted a fire safety campaign and is to be presented with a bravery award.

The teenager is in London on Wednesday to be named the bravest young person over 16 years of age at the WellChild Awards.

The accident happened in May 2009 when Connor, then 15, was engulfed in flames while playing with petrol and aerosols at a friend's house.

He jumped out of a window to escape the blaze and his friend threw water over him to douse the fire.

Connor spent almost a year in Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

As well as a safety video which has been shown to 12,000 youngsters in schools and colleges, Connor has helped to raise hundreds of pounds for Newcastle-based charity The Grafters Club, which helps children with burns.

'Lungs collapsed'

His mother Carol Rowntree, who also has daughters Leeanne, 28, Jodie, 26, Ceri, 24, said: "Basically for eight months we lived at the hospital and were told Connor's chances of survival were zero.

"We coped because we are a strong family - but it was horrendous - he had so many operations, his lungs collapsed and his kidneys failed and he had infection after infection.

"But he is a survivor, he recently had an operation to remove scarring but keeps going."

Fire safety officer Julie Mullen, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, said: "Connor never ceases to amaze.

"To have just survived all those operations is amazing but to also give up his time and go into schools and share with others the trauma he has been through is fantastic."

The national award ceremony is taking place at London's Park Lane InterContinental Hotel.

In 2010 Connor received a BBC Teen Hero Award from pop star Katy Perry.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites