Guernsey

Homemade costume warning from burns victim

After surviving a near fatal fire a Guernsey man wants to warn others about the potential danger of wearing homemade fancy dress costumes.

Peter Buck was attending a friend's birthday in a lamb costume he had made out of four big bags of cotton wool when it caught fire.

Paul Bisson, an off-duty fireman and friend, pulled the panicking Mr Buck to the ground to extinguish the flames.

Mr Buck said: "I'm lucky to be alive and indebted to Paul's quick response."

He recalled the incident outside the Drunken Duck pub, in St Peter Port, on 16 October: "I had been malting bits of cotton wool everywhere I went and there was a long bit that was dangling between my legs.

"One of my mates said we should burn the loose bit of cotton wool off.

"He lit it with a lighter and it caught fire and burnt so fast, literally igniting my whole outfit almost instantly."

He said although he knew to "Stop, Drop and Roll" panic set in and he ran into the road forcing a car to swerve around him.

Mr Bisson jumped on Mr Buck and put the flames out once he was on the ground.

Mr Buck said: "By this time, half the skin on my hands had burnt off as well as having numerous other burns on my legs, stomach, chest and arms.

"I burnt my face just a little including burning my eyelashes off, singeing my eyebrows and had small burns to my lips and nose."

'Just awful'

He was flown to Salisbury Hospital Burns Unit where the initial diagnosis said he could spend up to five months in hospital, may lose a couple of fingers and may never regain the full use of his hands.

Mr Buck said: "The doctors took a decision not to operate straightaway, but to wait a week to see how my hands would heal on their own and thank goodness they did."

During that week he rapidly recovered which changed his diagnosis.

He said some of the treatment "was just awful... the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life".

Mr Buck said: "I have to massage and moisturise all the burns twice a day for the next year, continue with the stretches and will need to apply total sun block for up to two years when venturing out in direct sunlight.

"This is a small price to pay considering the horror scenarios that were first being spoken about in the couple of days following the accident."

He has started back at work and has been told he should make a full recovery within a year.

Mr Buck said: "Of course I consider myself extremely lucky and am indebted to Paul for his quick reactions and handling of the situation.

"You could argue he saved my life and it doesn't bear thinking how much worse the burns would have been had he not been there."

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