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Praise for air ambulance after man accidentally sets his head on fire
AN idyllic summer evening barbecue turned into a nightmare ordeal when a man accidentally set his head on fire.
Steve Davies ran screaming around his garden with his head and hand in flames when his attempts to light the charcoal went disastrously wrong.
His quick-thinking wife Jan helped douse the flames with water and he rolled on the ground in agony as emergency services rushed to his remote home in the Yorkshire Dales.
But now, six months on, there is barely a scar to be seen - thanks to the speed with which the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was able to airlift him to the specialist burns unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Mr Davies, 55, had twice tried to ignite the barbecue with lighter fuel when he returned to it a third time.
“I’ve lit a barbeque so many times and you think you are in full control but I was just not looking out for the danger,” he recalled.
“I put my hand over the top and bent down to see if I could still smell the lighter fuel and at that point it just ignited and the residue stuck to my hand and head. I set off round the garden on fire.”
Wife Jan was also in the garden of their home at West Witton, near Leyburn, and turned around in horror on hearing her husband’s screams.
She managed to find a large bottle of water so Steve could douse the flames before calling the emergency services and rushing to a neighbouring farm for help.
“I could see that my hand was burnt and the pain was just indescribable.
“I thought it was just my hair that was alight and did not realize that my whole face and neck had been caught in the fire too,” said Mr Davies.
The reality of his injuries only hit home four days later.
“I literally did not recognize myself,” he said.
After two weeks of intensive treatment, Mr Davies was allowed home but had to make 12 more hospital trips over the next month as his painful recovery progressed.
“I thought I would be horribly scarred for life, but apart from a small amount on my hand and behind my ear you would not know how badly burnt I was,” he said.
He added: “The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is literally a lifesaver, especially for people like us who live in rural and hard to reach places.
“It would have taken well over an hour to get to Newcastle by road and I know I would not have made it without them.”
His story will be featured in Helicopter Heroes on BBC1 at 11.30am on December 12.
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