The rapid response of the local air ambulance saved the life of a Leicester man who was engulfed in flames.
Kitchen fitter Stephen Underwood was in an inspection pit underneath his car in the garage at his home when the accident happened.
“I try not to think too much about what could have happened but I know that I wouldn’t be here now if it hadn’t been for the air ambulance crew and medical teams who looked after me,” he says.
Stephen sustained horrific injuries to his hands, arms, chest and face when a battery screwdriver he was using ignited fumes from fuel that had leaked from a hole in the petrol tank.
Despite being in flames and agonising pain, he managed to get out of the pit and push the car away from the fire.
“The skin was hanging off my arms and my hands looked like I had been fighting in Afghanistan. My jeans were on fire. I was bruised and battered,” he says.
Two neighbours came to his rescue when the nightmare unfolded. One saw flames coming out of the garage and ran over with a fire extinguisher and another wrapped his burns in wet tea towels.
“If it wasn’t for their quick reaction I would have been scarred for life. As it is, most of my burns healed well and I only have marks on one hand,” he says.
Paramedics who attended the scene called Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance and within 15 minutes of their request Stephen (64) was at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire receiving lifesaving treatment – a road journey of 28 miles which would have taken much longer.
He was put into an induced coma before being transferred by land ambulance to the burns unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham for specialist treatment.
After 10 days Stephen was discharged from hospital and he was able to return to work 4 months later.