Grandmother tells of explosion horror

A GRANDMOTHER has told of the terrifying moment her grandson's bedroom was engulfed in a fireball which left him in hospital with severe burns.

James Mortlock

A GRANDMOTHER has told of the terrifying moment her grandson's bedroom was engulfed in a fireball which left him in hospital with severe burns.

Rosa White, 93, was asleep in the next door room when she was woken by a massive explosion, flashes of blinding light and the screams of 22-year-old Jans Schafar.

The blast, believed to have been caused by an overheated butane lighter fuel canister, was so severe it jammed the door to Jans' room and he had to kick it down to get out, said his grandmother.


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The pensioner was back at her home in Heron Avenue, Brandon, last night, after being taken in by neighbours following Friday evening's fire.

Yesterday, Jans underwent surgery to repair the damage to his face and his hands at the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and Mrs White said that although he had been badly hurt he was lucky to have survived the explosion, which left his room a burnt out wreck.

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Mrs White, visibly shaken by what happened, said the blast, which was so severe it burnt through electricity and gas cables in the loft, had been the most terrifying moment of her life: “I was woken by this massive bang and flashes of light. I went to see what had happened and heard Jans shouting that he couldn't get out.

“He was delirious. He told me to call an ambulance - I could see he had suffered horrible burns to his head, face and hands and all his hair had gone.

“He was in a lot of pain - his face was all red and swollen. It was a terrible sight. I didn't know what to do - I thought that putting his hands under cold water might make things worse.

“I was just shaking like a leaf - it was such an awful shock. I just remember Jans saying 'nan, call an ambulance, call an ambulance'.

“He went to the front door and sat on the step. The ambulance got here very quickly and when they did he walked over and they began treating him inside.”

Yesterday, Mrs White was trying to clear up the damage to her own bedroom, which suffered scorch damage to the wall and ceiling nearest Jans' room.

She said that although the fire service were called there was little for them to do as the blast resulted in little lasting fire: “There was just an explosion and all this smoke - it did all this damage but there wasn't any fire afterwards, it was amazing.”

Fire crews from Brandon and Thetford were called to the incident and police it was not being treated as suspicious.

A police spokesman said the cause of the explosion was thought to be a butane gas cylinder which had become overheated. A number of cylinders were removed from the bungalow. He said the explosion was confined to one bedroom but had burnt through cables in the loft, which had left the property without power for some hours.

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