Gas blast injures two at family barbecue
MOSSMAN fireman Andrew Petrack has spoken out about the “horrific” gas bottle explosion that left his wife and daughter with severe burns.
Mr Petrack was at the Rocky Point Esplanade, 30km north of Port Douglas, with his wife Julie O’Gorman and their two children Sophie, 16, and Harri, 12, on Monday evening.
The family was cooking dinner on a portable barbecue when the gas bottle exploded.
“I remember vividly that once we finished I turned off the barbie, took the steak off and sat down,” said Mr Petrack. “All I can remember was I was about to say ‘how good is this?’ and we were blown off our chairs. There was a massive flash and a bang.
“All I remember is being on the ground, looking up and hearing my daughter screaming and yelling as she ran down to the water. I looked at Julie and she was on her knees with skin falling off her arms.”
Despite burns to his right arm and side, Mr Petrack still managed to draw from his extensive emergency skills to support his injured family.
“I took Julie down to the water and called out to the only other guy on the beach to call the ambulance,” he said.
“It was surreal being on the other side of it. I deal with emergencies every day but I was having to do it for my family. I was looking after them in an emergency.”
His wife and daughter both received burns to their ankles, legs, hands, chest and face. They were taken to Mossman Hospital where the rescue helicopter was waiting to airlift Mrs O’Gorman to Cairns Hospital. Sophie was taken to hospital later that evening.
The two women have since been flown to Brisbane, with Mrs O’Gorman potentially suffering third degree burns. Mr Petrack, 51, and his son, who escaped injury, are in Brisbane comforting them.
He said the family’s road to recovery would take some time while the mental and physical scars healed. He praised the efforts of the health and emergency crews.
Harri and Sophie with parents Julie and Andrew in happier times.