Man seriously injured in Portsmouth gas explosion makes emotional return to work

  • Video report by ITV Meridian's Mary Stanley

A man who suffered severe burns in a gas explosion at his home in Portsmouth has made an emotional return to work, more than three months after the incident.

Gary Smy spent months in hospital after the fire in October last year.

His mother was also injured.

Today staff and customers gathered at his supermarket in Cosham, where he's worked for 33 years, to welcome him back. 

Fire at house in Portsmouth in October 21

Gary and his mother Denise were rescued from their home in North End by a neighbour.

They were treated for severe burns in hospital in Salisbury.

Denise, who has dementia, remains in a nursing home and Gary has moved in with his Aunt.

They have been amazed by the support of the community.

Gary said "I'm overwhelmed and shocked.  It's nice to see everyone here. 

"They're a big family.  Everyone helps each other and if there are any problems they help you."

Gary is welcomed back to work

The supermarket has raised more than £7,000 for Gary.

Colleagues from 25 Tesco stores across the South have also donated essential home items after being touched by his story.

Gary will return to work part time as he is still recovering from burns on his hands.

Store Manager Rob Milner said "Everybody loves him, all of the customers and all of the colleagues. 

"There isn't a day goes past when someone doesn't ask me about Gary and how is he doing and how his Mum is doing. 

"He's part of the chemistry that makes Tesco in Cosham such an amazing place."