The 2-year-old boy injured in a fireworks explosion in New Hampshire Tuesday remains on life support, but is expected to eventually recover, relatives said Friday.
Ben Bertini had serious burns in the blast, which was ignited when an errant firework struck a large box of fireworks on the back deck of a home in Pelham, N.H.
“He can’t breathe on his own,” said a relative of the boy, who asked that her name not be used. “It’s very scary, very difficult.”
Ben is the grandson of the homeowners, Chris and Jeannie Pappathan, who hosted a July 4 fireworks display that drew dozens of onlookers.
The explosion injured 13 people, including five children, and started a fire that engulfed the boy.
Ben Bertini’s mother, Jessica Bertini, rushed into the fire to rescue her son, relatives said.
The relative said a “Friends of Ben” fund has been set up at Enterprise Bank in Pelham.
“It’s going to be a long haul for him,” she said. “He’s got so much ahead of him.”
The boy is being treated at Shriners Hospitals For Children, which specializes in pediatric burn care.
Another boy who was burned, 18-month-old Tyler Brunelle, was released from the hospital Wednesday and is doing well.
“He’s home, running around,” said his grandfather, Edmund Gleason. “He’ll make a full recovery.”
Gleason is the father of Jeannie Pappathan, who was not injured, but is beside herself over what happened. “Emotionally, she’s distraught about all this,” Gleason said.
Pappathan’s husband, Chris, had serious burns to his legs and remains hospitalized. He is anguished that so many people, particularly children, were hurt, Gleason said.
“Obviously, he’s devastated,” he said. “He isn’t concerned about his pain.” Pappathan is especially close to Ben, his grandson.
Gleason said Ben is expected to recover fully. Jessica Bertini was blown off the deck by the explosion, then ran back through the flames to rescue her son, he said. She had a head injury, but is now fine.
Gleason said an “errant firework” triggered the explosion. “It’s a terrible accident,” he said.
A baby girl, 8 months old, was also injured, but is doing better. Her mother, Marcy Foy, 31, of Greenfield, N.H., suffered serious burns and remains hospitalized.
Joseph A. Roark. police chief of Pelham, N.H., said Friday that while authorities had initially reported nine people injured, the number was actually 13, including eight adults and five children.