Tory MP thanks quick-thinking Mrs for saving his life after he was engulfed in bonfire explosion
A CONSERVATIVE MP says his wife saved his life after a garden bonfire "exploded" in his face.
Gordon Henderson spent 10 days in hospital after suffering burns to a THIRD of his body in the horrific accident.
The Member of Parliament said he was engulfed in flames while he was trying to light a bonfire in the back garden of his home in Eastchurch, Kent.
The 69-year-old believes he may have died if wife Louise hadn't grabbed a hose and doused him with water.
The MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey said: "I regularly have bonfires in my garden, to such an extent that I constructed a purpose-built, three-sided enclosure, using thermo-blocks in order to improve safety.
"I often use a small amount of petrol to get started. I am always very careful when doing this and I ensure that the newspaper lighting fuse is nowhere near any part of the bonfire that has come in contact with petrol.
"However, on this occasion, I failed to take into account my new bonfire enclosure would create a build-up of petrol fumes.
"That was a problem I had not anticipated. When I lit the bonfire it was those fumes that exploded – not the petrol itself."
Mr Henderson said that the fumes had "nowhere to go – except towards me", adding that it was a "scary moment".
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He added: "Thankfully, there was a hosepipe close by and my wife had the good sense to immediately douse me with water for 10 minutes.
"If she had not taken such immediate action then I might well be dead – and that is not being over-dramatic."
He thanked the NHS staff at Sheppey Community Hospital, who rushed him into care and brought his skin temperature down using soaked towels.
But he soon found that he was "shaking uncontrollably" and was rushed – by helicopter – to the trauma unit at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
He said: "Once again I had reason to be thankful to all those people who help keep the air ambulance flying. We take so much for granted.
"Despite the pain I have suffered during the past couple of weeks, I could not help but be impressed by the dedication, professionalism, hard work and good humour of all the NHS staff who cared for me and their many other patients. They were exceptional."
He added: "So, to anybody out there who is in the habit of using petrol to start a bonfire, or is tempted to do so in the future, I would urge you to resist such temptation."
Luckily his injuries were treated as "superficial" – meaning that he did not require a skin-graft, but he said: "I was lucky – such wounds are the most painful because they affect surface nerves.
"I can vouch for that pain. I was in agony. Perhaps I was not so lucky after all."
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