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Garage explosion sees pensioner hospitalised

PUBLISHED: 09:43 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:30 25 August 2010

A PENSIONER has been severely burnt in an explosion in his garage.

A PENSIONER has been severely burnt in an explosion in his garage.

Donald Ross, 75, of Heathside Avenue, Bexleyheath, was thought to have caused the explosion when he tried to empty aerosol cans in his garage at 9.55am on Saturday, March 15.

Fire fighters suspected Mr Ross wanted to recycle the canisters but thought the council would only collect them if empty.

A large explosion and fire required Mr Ross to be taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, with burns to his hands and legs.

The pensioner has since been taken to a specialist burns unit and is said to be in a stable condition.

His garage was completely gutted by

the fire.

Next door neighbour Michael Benning ran out of his house in his dressing gown to help Mr Ross away from the scene.

He said: "There was an almighty and terrible bang, really loud. I thought it was a road accident.

"When I came out there were flames 30, 40ft high from the garage.

"I could see he was shell-shocked and traumatised. His hands and hair were burnt, his clothes were on fire and he was covered in blood."

Mr Benning said he helped his elderly neighbour away from the fierce heat of the fire and started moving cars in case they also caught light.

He added: "It was growing fast and if the fire brigade hadn't turned up so quickly both our houses would have gone."

Telecoms technician Adrian Williams, who lives opposite Mr Ross in Heathside Avenue, said he was shocked by the commotion surrounding his quiet neighbour's home.

Mr Williams, 44, added: "He is a lovely old bloke, quite a hands-on guy. You will often see him there servicing his van."

Bexleyheath fire fighters said they suspected Mr Ross had been trying to empty aerosol cans so that they could be recycled by the council.

Watch manager Jessop said: "He was trying to do his bit for the environment with a screwdriver.

"My advice is never to pierce an aerosol can. He was very lucky to get out."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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