York & North Yorkshire

Neighbours of petrol burn victim Diane Hill given support

Diane Hill
Image caption Diane Hill's condition in hospital has been described as critical but stable

Neighbours who saw a woman after she was badly burned in a petrol accident are being offered support from social workers.

Diane Hill suffered 40% burns after vapours ignited while she was pouring fuel into a jug at her home in Moorgate, Acomb, York, on Thursday.

Margot Johnston, 86, who lives next door, said she saw Ms Hill trying to pull burning clothing off herself.

Social workers will be in the area over the coming days, the council said.

Ms Hill, 46, remains critically ill in the specialist burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

'Horrific tragedy'

Mrs Johnston said: "I had been gardening and came in to make myself a cup of tea and I was aware of a cloud of smoke coming over the hedge.

"Then I noticed there was someone in the garden who seemed to be on fire.

"One of the daughters was in the garden and I said 'Have you phoned for the ambulance?' and she said she had."

Mrs Johnston said she went into her bedroom and through the window could see "poor Diane sort of pulling burning clothing off herself".

She added: "I was just awfully distressed for them."

Councillor James Alexander, leader of the City of York Council, said: "I have instructed the chief executive of the council to send down some social community workers to work with the people there.

"People saw this incident, this is a horrific tragedy and that's the thing we need to recognise.

Image caption Diane Hill was treated by paramedics at the house in Moorgate, York

"Some neighbours saw the woman coming out of the house, others are worried."

Adair Lewis, from the Fire Protection Association, said Ms Hill's accident was a "wake-up call to us all", adding: "Petrol should only ever be bought in proper containers made for that purpose. There is no place for petrol inside your home."

The incident came two days after government minister Francis Maude suggested that motorists take the "sensible precaution" of filling up jerry cans and keeping them in the garage.

It is not known if Ms Hill had been storing petrol in advance of the threat of industrial action by tanker drivers .

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, Karl Turner, MP for Hull East, and Labour Lord Toby Harris are among those who have called for Mr Maude to resign if it turns out his comments contributed to Ms Hill's accident.

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