Published Friday, 16 November 2012
The scene of the incident in Ballymena. (© Pacemaker)
The child suffered severe burns in the incident, which happened in the Larne Road area of the Co Antrim town at about 2.30pm on Friday.
He was found by a woman who was passing by - she was also badly burned when she tried to put out the flames.
The boy was taken to Antrim Area Hospital and later transferred to the Royal, where his condition has been described as critical.
Neighbours have described the frantic efforts to help him.
Wesley Luke said: "I ran to the door immediately and by that time there is already people on the scene from cars and lorries.
A woman had caught the wee fella and rolled him in the grass in a neighbour's garden two doors down to put him out of the flames.
"Then the emergency services arrived and we got cold water and that to keep the skin as cold as we could until we got the proper equipment."
Carol Moody, who works in a nearby chip shop close by, was alerted to the toddler's plight, and brought water.
She believes what happened will leave a mark on everyone who witnessed the scene.
"The last customer that we served tonight, he worked in accident and emergency up in Antrim and he said that they had transfered him up to the Royal and that his burns were quite bad," Ms Moody told UTV.
"Because of the fact that he is so young, his skin is obviously not as tough as ours would be but hopefully he will be ok, it was a bit of a shock to see it happen."
John McPoland from the NI Ambulance Service told UTV that a rapid response paramedic was on the scene in about four minutes.
"He immediately, with the help of police, took the child to the nearest hospital - Antrim Area," he said, adding that the passer-by was also taken to hospital for burns to her hands.
"The injuries to the boy are quite severe. We hope and pray everything will go well for the child in hospital, where he will get the best of treatment."
It is understood the little boy may have been in a nearby house where a candle caused his clothes to catch fire.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and have appealed for any witnesses to contact them.
© UTV News