A WIGAN dad is critically ill in hospital with 50 per cent burns after a brazier fire blew up and engulfed him in flames.
Mike Peel, 33, was airlifted to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester following the shocking incident in the garden of his home in Platt Bridge on Bank Holiday Monday.
His family told how dad-of-three Mike was lighting a small fire on a log-burning brazier when he added a quantity of methylated spirits and the blaze blew up on to his chest and arms.
The incident was especially sad as it happened as the family was gathering to celebrate the bank holiday with a BBQ.
Mike, who is a steel worker by trade, is currently in hospital in Manchester on a life-support machine with 49 per cent burns, but his condition has been described as comfortable and stable.
Mike’s brother-in-law Wayne Garrity, 32, said: “It was only a little fire on a small log burner which he’s got. He added some methylated spirits and it just blew up, pouring all over him.
“It’s horrible and a real shame. We were going to have a BBQ because the sun was out and we thought it would be nice for the bank holiday.
“My sister Jamie is devastated and it’s also really upset his children, especially his little lad who was there and has been quite traumatised by it. It’s just awful.”
Fire crews from Wigan and Hindley stations and a North West Air Ambulance helicopter attended the incident at an address in Downing Close.
The helicopter had to find a grass verge on Victoria Road to land before paramedics put Mike on a stretcher in view of shocked onlookers and neighbours.
Mike’s family said he is a keen family man with a love of the outdoors, enjoying activities including fishing, camping and kayaking as well as holidays to Shell Island in North Wales with his partner and children.
Following the accident Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) urged Wiganers to take extreme care when lighting any kind of fire at home, and said any substances which artificially increase the strength of a blaze should be strictly avoided.
A fire service spokesman said: “If you’re going to burn rubbish or waste in your garden, you must keep an eye on it at all times as it can easily get out of control.
“The fire can spread your home, which could result in serious damage, or cause injury to someone standing nearby.
“Ensure the brazier or fire is well away from your home as well as any fences, sheds, trees and shrubs, and never, under any circumstances, use an accelerant on a brazier or bonfire.”