The Timaru Herald

‘Getting on with life’: Man’s road to recovery after garage explosion

- Rachael Comer

Jim Burford can remember vividly the moment an explosion flew through his garage sending out flames that clung to him, burning more than 40% of his body.

Having spent three months in hospital, Burford said he remains positive about his recovery despite having also suffered a stroke just a week after being injured in the explosion.

What he wasn’t so upbeat about, was learning he had become the victim of a theft while laid up in hospital, with one of two electric bicycles stored at his home in Timaru taken from the property.

Burford was working on an engine in his garage, about 5pm on January 11, when petrol vapour ignited, causing an explosion which left him with burns, many thirddegre­e.

“I remember the explosion happening but it’s not a nightmare,’’ Burford said.

“It happened quickly and there was the burst of flames and I couldn’t reach the fire extinguish­er so I had to go outside and get the garden hose.’’

When this provided little help, he ran into his house and got in the shower, which is where emergency service personnel found him, he said.

Flown to hospital in a critical condition, he spent 76 days in Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, before being transferre­d to Christchur­ch Hospital about three weeks ago.

He will be transferre­d to Burwood Hospital next week, he said.

One week after his accident, Burford suffered the stroke which had affected his speech and mobility.

“I’m feeling OK. I just suck it up and get on with life.’’

He said as well as a positive attitude, the support of his good family, and a few mates who have visited during his hospital stay, also helped.

However, he said learning from his son that one of his two electric bikes had been taken from his locked garage basement had upset him.

“I would appreciate it back. I was going to get it out and ride it before the accident, but didn’t.’’

He said he had imported the bikes from China, and did not believe there would be any others like them in New Zealand.

He enjoyed getting outdoors and said riding the bike was something to aspire to while he recovered.

The bike’s details are: 2000W Electric Bicycle Dual Motor 22.4Ah Fat Bike 48V Smlro V3 Ebike with removable lithium battery 26" electric bike.

Police confirmed they have received a report of the bike having been stolen.

Burford said he was “really lucky with the support I have’’.

“When this sort of thing happens you find out who your friends are.’’

Burford said he would continue to look to the future with positivity.

“And I’ll probably still work on cars, but I won’t be doing the same thing again.’’

His family has set up a Givealittl­e page for him in the hope of raising money to pay for ongoing living expenses and everyday costs incurred by family members.

“I’ll probably still work on cars, but I won’t be doing the same thing again.’’

Jim Burford

 ?? ?? Timaru man Jim Burford holds the game of Ludo given to him by his sister as he recovers in Christchur­ch Hospital following a garage explosion in January.
Timaru man Jim Burford holds the game of Ludo given to him by his sister as he recovers in Christchur­ch Hospital following a garage explosion in January.

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