Wigan couple engulfed in flames and kitchen destroyed in freak ornamental burner blaze

A couple suffered horrific burns and part of their house was destroyed by fire after an accident involving a DIY ornamental burner.
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A fire chief today described the incident as a “tragic series of events the like of which I have never seen before in my 20 years’ service.”

The woman was the more seriously injured, suffering 40 to 50 per cent burns, mainly to her back and legs following the spillage of bio-fuel in the back garden of the semi-detached home in Harvey Lane, Golborne, at 9.45pm on Saturday June 16.

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The man also sustained burns and, in his distress and panic at the accident involving his wife, went after her into the house stil carrying the fuel which then spilt and caught light, setting fire to the kitchen.

Both victims, who are in their 40s, tore their outer clothes off and covered themselves with wet towels.

The woman also ran to a home nearby and got under a cold shower as quickly as possible.

A fire crew from Leigh station was quickly on the scene and, while the kitchen was gutted by flames, they managed to save the rest of the house.

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It was discovered that the pair had created a fire pit in the back garden, using biofuel in something like a dog bowl placed in a plant pot, following instructions from the internet.

Watch manager Mark Anderson said: “It had been burning away for several hours without a problem but it was when the gentleman went to top it up with fuel that the accident occurred.

"The liquid spilled, ignited and caught them both, the female bearing the brunt of it.

"Being a nurse, she knew exactly what to do to minimise the damage and we found her in the shower of a home two doors down. Her husband was very distressed and, despite his own injuries, insisted that it was she that we treated. We applied burns dressings and kept her under cold running water until the ambulance arrived.”

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The victims were both taken by ambulance to the specialist burns unit of Whiston Hospital in Liverpool.

Mr Anderson added: “It’s just a tragic serIes of events – really accidental in nature – the like of which I have never seen before in my 20 years’ service.

"We hope the both of them are going to be all right. Unfortunately this incident has culminated in two people being badly injured and their house severely damaged.”

He said the fire service would only recommend the use of properly designed and built equipment for fires outside and would deter people for using online advice as guidelines, nor that people use flammable liquids for fires in their gardens.

He added that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service staff are available for free fire safety assessments and will install smoke alarms for free if requested.

For further information visit the GMFR S website.

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