A father- of- three was engulfed in flames after using petrol to stoke up a barbecue during a family wake.
Onlookers watched in horror as civil engineer Duncan Cooper, aged 30, was set on fire and collapsed in the garden of his home in Stourbridge.
Mr Cooper, who suffered first degree burns to his head, face, chest and arms, had used the petrol when the barbecue started to fizzle out.
But the vapour caught light, forcing him to drop the can. The petrol then splashed on to him, creating a fireball.
Relatives had gathered on Saturday evening to lift the family's spirits following the death of Mr Cooper's wife's mother, Susan Hutton. They tried desperately to put out the flames.
Paramedics arrived minutes later and Mr Cooper was rushed to Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley. He is now at the specialist burns unit at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital.
The injuries mean Mr Cooper, of Whitmore Road, Wollaston, will be forced to quit his job because doctors have warned him not to work in direct sunlight for five years.
His wife Nicola, aged 26, said she had visited her husband but could not bear to take their three children - Hannah, aged nine, William, aged six, and 16-month-old Cydonia.
Mrs Cooper, a teacher at Pens Meadow Special School, Wordsley, said: "The first thing we knew of it was when there was a huge explosion. Everyone turned round to see Duncan will flames all over him."