skip to content

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Victim of Bio-Ethanol burner warns of the risks

08/09/2015

Rose and Graeme Evans
Rose and Graeme Evans

A Stafford man is warning of the dangers of Bio-Ethanol burners after suffering serious injuries during an incident.

"The explosion happened very suddenly, there was a loud bang and the next thing I knew, I was enveloped in flames. The fire was literally all over my body and was even on my face and lips. I went into shock and didn’t know what to do. Luckily, my wife acted swiftly, pushing me to the ground and patting the flames until they were out. If Rose had not remained calm and hadn’t taken the right course of action immediately, I seriously doubt that I would be here today. She definitely saved my life and I am so grateful to her."

Graeme Evans

Graeme Evans, of The Saltings on Baswich Lane, received 25 per cent burns after a device exploded while being refuelled.

Mr Evans and his wife Rose had been visiting neighbours when the incident took place on Sunday, July 12.

The male occupant was refilling the burner as it appeared to have gone out. As he squirted fuel into the burner, there was a loud bang and flames shot out at Mr Evans.

Luckily, Mrs Evans knew not to douse the flames with water and instead patted her husband down to extinguish the fire before calling paramedics.

Mr Evans said: "The explosion happened very suddenly, there was a loud bang and the next thing I knew, I was enveloped in flames. The fire was literally all over my body and was even on my face and lips. I went into shock and didn’t know what to do.

"Luckily, my wife acted swiftly, pushing me to the ground and patting the flames until they were out. If Rose had not remained calm and hadn’t taken the right course of action immediately, I seriously doubt that I would be here today. She definitely saved my life and I am so grateful to her.

"The thing that can make Bio-Ethanol burners so dangerous is that to all intents and purposes, the flames can appear to be completely extinguished but in actual fact they are still burning. That was the case when my friend squirted the liquid into the burner, causing an explosion-like effect that came from nowhere. I want people to be aware of the risks involved with bio-ethanol burners and if in doubt, to steer clear of them. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I have gone through."

Mrs Evans added: "It is not an exaggeration to say that Bio-Ethanol is a potential invisible killer. Graeme suffered severe burns and was in absolute agony when the incident happened. He is still in an awful lot of pain and it will be a long road to recovery as there will be hospital appointments and operations for a great deal of time to come. We were lucky that Graeme is a strong man, I dread to think what the outcome would have been if it had happened to a small child. I would urge people never to go near Bio-Ethanol burners – the consequences could be catastrophic."

Station Manager Neil Burton said: "Although the number of incidents we have involving Bio-Ethanol is not high, all of the ones we have had, have resulted in very serious or even fatal injuries. We do not want to see another member of our community suffer as Mr Evans has. It is vital to never underestimate the potential hazards linked to this extremely flammable type of fuel. Always keep the burner away from combustible materials as the fuel can burn without a visible flame, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions."

Advice for the use of Bio-Ethanol burners includes:

• Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions
• Only use Bio-Ethanol fuel in fireboxes and containers designed for the product
• Bio-Ethanol fuel is highly flammable and should be kept in containers tightly closed and away from any ignition sources
• Fireboxes and containers should always be placed on a stable surface and away from combustible materials
• Never add fuel to a burning fire or overfill a fuel container and never fill up a firebox fuel container that is still hot
• Keep children and pets away from fireboxes and fuel
• Extinguish all fires when leaving a room or before going to sleep
• Always use Bio-Ethanol fireboxes and containers in a well-ventilated room
• Regularly clean and check the fuel container for damage and never use if it is leaking
• Clean up fuel spills with a damp cloth and dry completely
• Keep your hands, hair and clothing well clear of any burning flames and fuel
• Always light Bio Ethanol fuel with an extended lighter or extra-long match – never discard matches into the container

To view an interview with Greame and Rose Evans and Station Manager Neil Burton visit: https://youtu.be/u-guZh4p7zw