News release text
Firefighters are warning residents about the dangers of using petrol on bonfires after a man with burns needed to be rescued from a river in East Farleigh this afternoon (18 June 2014).
It is thought that the man, who is in his fifties, accidently set himself alight when he poured petrol on to a bonfire at a caravan park close to Farleigh Bridge.
Highly flammable vapours from the petrol ignited and flashed up in to the man’s face and clothing. The man then jumped in to the river to try to put out the flames.
Firefighters assisted South East Coast Ambulance staff, who had dragged the man to safety. He was treated for approximately 10 per cent burns by crews and then taken to hospital for further checks. His condition is not thought to be life-threatening.
Maidstone Watch Manager Dominic Moore said: “This unfortunate incident demonstrates just how dangerous it is to use petrol on a bonfire. In this case, the water from the river helped to extinguish the fire and may have prevented further burn injuries, however, by jumping in the man put himself in yet further danger.
“Rivers can be far deeper than they look, with unseen hazards and dangerous currents. Also, the water can be very cold, no matter how warm the weather, which can quickly cause cramp and breathing difficulties, making it harder to get out unaided.”
Take care with bonfires:
A bonfire should not contain any potentially hazardous materials which may explode or give off toxic fumes, such as; aerosols, batteries, bottles, foam-filled furniture or tins of paint.
A bonfire should be kept to a manageable size and evenly built so that is collapses inwards as it burns.
Always check the bonfire’s construction is still sound prior to lighting it, that there are no children or animals inside, and that hazardous items such as aerosols and fireworks have not been thrown onto it.
The bonfire should not be lit by children or left unattended and nothing should be cooked on it.
For further advice on how to keep you, your family or a neighbour safe from fire call Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000 or go to www.3breaths.info for further information.