Rather frightening afternoon

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Jun 2, 2002
West London
SL500 & The Fart Car
On Saturday last, I was invited over to a barbecue along with 20 or so other people. A glorious afternoon, the sun was shining, a cool drink in hand, good conversation, good friends and their respective offspring and all was right with the world.

To cut a long story short, it turned out there were no firelighters and instead of the sensible option, someone foolishly decided to light the coals using turpentine. Once lit, he then decided to pour some more on the flames. The flames were dawn into the bottle, which in turn ignited and basically discharged the remaining contents of the bottle all over an innocent bystander some six foot away.

While this was going on, I was up the other end of the garden minding my own business with a glass of wine oblivious to what was happening.

Suddenly I heard screams, I looked up and saw Brian (name changed) dancing about shouting something. At this point I was blissfully unaware of the nature of the problem as I could see no flames (they were blue flames and the sun was beating down very brightly) and I just guessed that the flailing of arms and dancing about were just the reaction to a wasp or something.

Next thing, Brian came rushing up the garden towards me, sending chairs flying and people running for cover. Only then did it suddenly dawn on me what was going on. Without thinking I grabbed the picnic blanket from underneath me and dived on poor Brian, wrestled him to the ground and tried smothering the flames. It wasn't easy, each time I though I'd got it flames appeared from another end of the blanket and it wasn't until someone else arrived and emptied the contents of the watering can on top of the both of us that the flames were completely out.

An ambulance was called and Brian rushed to hospital. Turns out he'll be OK. Some quite serious burns to his legs which will heal in time but only minor burns on his upper body, thanks I guess to the chap with the watering can and I.

Since the event it's been playing on my mind a little. How much worse it could have been? What if it were one of the children instead of Brian? (Brian's a tough bloke and has handled it well) What if we hadn't managed to extinguish the fire so fast? What if I had set myself on fire trying to wrestle with Brian... (it tuned out that there was a label on the picnic blanket saying 'Warning Highly Flammable')

Anyway, the point of this post other than to get it off my chest a little is to say next time you go to light something, please please don't take risks, the consequences of getting it wrong are monumental, it'll go wrong so fast and its simply not worth making excuses for not nipping down to the local petrol station for firelighters.

I know I'll never take the chance again and I'll intervene if I ever see anyone else contemplating it.
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Well done. Have a cold one on me.

It is probable that you and Mr Watering Can saved him from serious scarring, or worse.
Good job you had your wits about you! Hope the shock doesn't last too long!
If a barby needs a hand getting going once its already been lit, then the best thing to use are candles. Throw one or two SMALL candles on the embers and the candles will melt within a minute or two and speed things along. Never, EVER use anything liquid for the reasons stated by the OP.
We use one of those funnel/chimney things to get the coals going, then pour them into the barbie.
Good call Spike, Well done.
Your actions have probably saved 'Brian' from very serious burns, hope he's Ok.
Burns can take a lot of healing if deep. I know someone who spent months in the burns unit after recieving 3rd degree burns. Your actions have hopefully stopped that amount of damage.
It's amazing how many burn injuries there are at BBQs.

I imagine the proximity of alcohol may contribute...........

Glad to hear your friend is ok.
My boss saw someone die at a barbecue a few yrs ago - exactly same as you described only ot was the guy pouring the fuel who was killed.

One thing I always do (I guess the result of my Dad having been in the fire brigade) is run a hose reel out (and turned on at the tap) when we're having a bbq.
He'll be lucky not to get sued.

Blimey man, anyone would think you come from America :crazy:

Sp!ke, well done my friend, if it wasnt for your bravery the man may not be so lucky.

What goes around comes around.

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