Barbecue safety warning after 'horrendous' accident

Darren was lucky to survive after he sustained burns while lighting his barbecue. Credit: Family

Avon Fire Service is urging people to use barbecues safely after a man from South Gloucestershire was almost killed.

Darren Lewis was badly burned after he used an accelerant to light the barbecue at his home in Mangotsfield.

"You've just got to look at me and what happened. I mean you're scarred for the rest of your life," Darren said.

His family were told he might not survive but he recovered and is using his ordeal to warn others of the dangers: "Just don't do it. It ain't worth it. Physically he had the pain, he had the scars but emotionally, mentally on us lot it was horrendous".

Avon Fire Service have issued the following tips:

  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.

  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.

  • Never use a barbecue indoors.

  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.

  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.

  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more (normally around 5cms or 2 inches).

  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.

  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.

  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they're hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.

  • Enjoy yourself, but don't drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.

  • Never use petrol or parrafin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on cold coals.