PALM BAY, FL (Central Florida News 13/CNN) - A man was hospitalized after a Halloween joke went wrong Wednesday.
Investigators said he was in the front yard putting up some Halloween decorations, including a small wooden cross. As a joke, he poured gasoline on the cross then lit it on fire. Gasoline vapors ignited the gas can, and it exploded, shooting flames into his chest and back burning some 40 to 50 percent of it.
A neighbor - identified in the 911 call as an off-duty Melbourne firefighter - called to help after hearing the loud explosion.
"If he had inhaled those fumes, then he would be in a lot worse situation," Palm Bay Assistant Fire Marshall Ron Bailey said.
Nielson was flown to Orlando for treatment. Neighbors said they don't understand such a prank.
"There could have been small children around," Isabella Deese said. "Not only that, he could have burned down half the neighborhood doing something ridiculous like that."
Bailey said this time of year people can get a bit carried away with their Halloween displays. It's imperative people do not use open flames especially in their yard, and with costumed children coming to trick or treat.
"We've got to keep it safe," Bailey said."If a little kid comes up in your yard and sustains burn injuries because of a decoration you have, well, guess what? You're going to be liable for that."
Copyright 2013 Central Florida News 13 via CNN. All rights reserved.
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