A 16-year-old boy set himself on fire while filling a petrol canister in his back garden – and smoking at the same time. Firefighters said the boy, who managed to attract his mother s attention so she could call for help, was lucky to be alive after he wa

A 16-year-old boy set himself on fire while filling a petrol canister in his back garden - and smoking at the same time.

Firefighters said the boy, who managed to attract his mother's attention so she could call for help, was lucky to be alive after he was engulfed by a fireball.

He had been in an outbuilding at the rear of his home in Naseby Gardens, St Neots, when the petrol fumes caught light at about 5pm on Friday.

Two fire crews spent more than an hour at the scene and the outhouse was destroyed.

A motorbike and garden furniture were also destroyed, while the house received extensive smoke damage.

Vernon Payne, watch manager at St Neots fire station, said: "To smoke while handling petrol is extremely dangerous, especially in such a confined area.

"It is nothing short of miraculous that he managed to escape without sustaining any injuries. He received no burns whatsoever after being totally engulfed by flames. He is very lucky indeed.

"This incident should serve as a warning to others about the dangers of handling a cigarette or any other naked flame around petrol."

The family involved declined to comment.