Tara Goodwin-Chief’s 13-year-old son was walking to Jack Hulland Elementary School Monday afternoon.
He’d missed the bus and was on his way to meet his parents for a ride home.
On his way he was approached by three other teens his age.
One of the boys sprayed him with Axe body spray, a scented aerosol deodorant, his mom said.
“He thought this kid was just putting Axe on him, like a spray perfume. He was going to say thanks.”
Then one of the other teens pulled out a lighter.
The sleeve of her son’s jacket caught fire. The flames singed his eyelashes and hair, she said.
He was able to put out the flames by jumping into a snow bank, she said.
“He said his arm was on fire, his complete arm, his shoulder. However, because he jumped into it right away, the snow bank put it out.”
Goodwin-Chief is not releasing her son’s name.
The boy was shook up but did not need medical attention.
His mom believes it could have been much worse.
Her son was wearing a cover over much of his face to protect it from the cold. It also ended up protecting him from the flames.
“His ears were protected and it came up over the nose so that whole area of his face was covered,” she said.
“But probably without that, it definitely would have done more damage.”
The attackers just walked away afterwards, she said.
Whitehorse RCMP confirm they are looking into a complaint of an assault near a Porter Creek bus stop, but say it is too early in the investigation to release much else.
“At this point the investigation is in the early stages so I’m not in a position to confirm or deny any facts of the case right now,” Const. Dean Hoogland said today.
“It is ongoing and being actively pursued. Given the serious nature and the consequences this incident could have had, we’re taking it very seriously.”
Goodwin-Chief said her son knows the other boys, but not well. “Prior to this he’d never had any incidents (with them),” she said.
She’s still not sure what motivated the attack but is hoping the boys involved will be held accountable in some way.
“It would be a completely different scenario if they were lighting a cigarette or something and he was just there, versus ‘I’m going to deliberately spray you and I’m going to light you,’ and not even know the kid. That’s scary as a parent.”
A search of websites like YouTube will turn up multiple videos of people using aerosol body sprays to light things on fire. Some videos show pant legs or even beards set ablaze.
The Axe company website includes a “responsible use” section that warns of the product’s flammability.
Underneath a video that tells users “you know what’s stupid? Lighting Axe on fire,” the site says:
“Axe is flammable. Do not spray or apply near heat, flame or while smoking.
“After application until product is dry, do not smoke and avoid flame and intense heat. Can cause serious injury or death.”
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