WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) – A 7-year-old boy is recovering at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill after an aerosol can of sunscreen exploded in a trash fire.

Ryder Faircloth’s mother, Tabitha Ezzell, said they were burning an old trash pile in the yard.

“It had been trash that had been sitting on the pile, you know, for a couple of months due to the burn ban,” Ezzell said. “Since the burn ban was lifted since it rained we decided to burn all the old trash in our yard.”

They had no idea that there was an aerosol sunscreen can in the trash pile. Aerosol cans should never be in fires or heated locations as they may explode. The propellant inside may also be flammable.

Ryder was standing near the fire with his mom and sister when the can exploded. It singed his sister’s hair, but Ezzell said that Ryder was engulfed in flames.

“I looked over and my baby was covered in fire. It’s something I’m never going to forget,” Ezzell said.

She sprung into action and immediately took off his shirt.

“I pulled him close to me, I guess just hoping if it was on him it would get off him and on me,” she said. “I feel like I have PTSD from it. I don’t want to be around another fire in my life.”

They took Ryder to Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Whiteville where it was quickly decided he needed to be flown to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Ryder suffered second-degree burns on his face, ears, neck and right arm, but his left arm was the most severely burned.

“From his elbow down is just a big third-degree burn all the way to his fingertips,” Ezzell said.

The road to recovery is a long one. Ryder will go through surgery on Tuesday to clean his burns. It will then be decided if he needs a skin graft for his left arm.

After that, it will be at least a month of recovery, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. His mom and dad, Rocky Faircloth, are praying for as smooth a recovery as possible.

“He is all boy — he loves to be active and he can make his finger gestures to me and, you know, I know he’s miserable and wants to get up,” Ezzell said.

Ryder’s mom and dad are praying hard and ask that others do the same so that he can recover and get back to the things that he loves like baseball, basketball and hunting.

“Just to know he can’t do those things that he loves, I guess that’s what hurts me most. I know it’s going to be a while before he can do those things and it hurts,” Ezzell said. “Last night he was actually halfway off the bed. I had fell asleep because I hadn’t had sleep in over 36 hours. I fell asleep and he woke up and he couldn’t find me. It’s just a long journey and we’re going to need a lot of prayers.”

It’s also not going to be easy financially.

“I know we’re probably more than likely going to be struggling financially because we’re both out of work to take care of him,” Ezzell said. “I don’t work to start with but dad works and dad’s up here taking care of us. He’s having to hold mommy together so mommy can be strong for Ryder.”

The family has already received donations from all over. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Ryder and there will also be a fundraiser in Chadbourn on Saturday.

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