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Diane Hill seriously burned pouring petrol in kitchen

  • 3-30-2012

A woman suffered 40% burns when petrol ignited as she was decanting it in her kitchen in York with the cooker on.

Diane Hill, 46, was pouring petrol into a glass jug at her home in Moorgate, Acomb, on Thursday evening after her daughter's car ran out of fuel.

She was "critical but stable" at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

A fire service spokesman said: "Her daughter asked her mum for petrol because she had run out. The cooker was on and the fumes ignited."

The accident came two days after government minister Francis Maude suggested that motorists take the "sensible precaution" of filling up jerry cans and keeping them in the garage.

It has prompted the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to ask the government to make an urgent public safety announcement highlighting the dangers of petrol in the home.

Cameron's sympathies

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "The public do not understand the extreme dangers posed by petrol handling or storage and they must be advised as a matter of urgency.

"Government needs to issue urgent professionally-based advice to warn the public before we have another incident, perhaps with far worse consequences."

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Well this is obviously a desperate incident and a terrible thing that has happened to this woman and my heart goes out to her and her family."

Fire station manager Lee Smith, whose Acomb crew attended the fire shortly after 18:00 BST on Thursday, said: "The people were cooking their tea and dispensing petrol from a container to a glass jug.

"The vapour then ignited, the jug was then spilt which obviously ignited as well and the person involved in the decanting was consumed by the flames.

"Her daughter phoned 999 and was obviously extremely distressed."

The woman, who suffered 40% burns to her whole body, was treated by ambulance personnel in her kitchen before being taken to Pinderfields.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire in the kitchen and removed the remaining petrol.

A North Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said: "Members of the public should take extreme care when handling and storing petrol and be aware of the risks associated with incorrect use and storage of fuel.

"Never bring petrol inside your home. If you do smell petrol fumes in a garage or outbuilding ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off.

"The slightest spark could cause an explosion."

It is not known if the woman had been storing petrol in advance of the threat of industrial action by tanker drivers but news of the dispute was followed by Mr Maude advising motorists to fill up jerry cans in case of a strike.

This was subsequently clarified by Transport Minister Mike Penning who said jerry cans could store 20 litres, more than the amount advised for safe home storage.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2012 BBC


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