Man’s skin was “hanging off his arms” after gas canister exploded on bonfire

Gas canister accident, survivor Guy McCallan, at his home in Wistow, with his wife Katie,

Gas canister accident, survivor Guy McCallan, at his home in Wistow, with his wife Katie, - Credit: Archant

A couple from Ramsey have issued a warning to people using gas canisters, after a Sunday night bonfire almost ended in tragedy.

Gas canister accident, survivor Guy McCallan, at his home in Wistow,

Gas canister accident, survivor Guy McCallan, at his home in Wistow, - Credit: Archant

Guy and Katie McCallan, who moved to Cambridgeshire earlier this year, were busy clearing up their yard on May 29, when disaster struck.

“I remember everything,” Guy, 57, told The Hunts Post.

“I was having a tidy-up and used a box as a rubbish box and unfortunately one of them contained a full can of gas, and I didn’t know it was there.

“I put all of the boxes on the bonfire and burned them. It was almost out and then there was this enormous bang, and as I turned away from it, I just got blown over onto the floor.”

Guy McCallan following the gas canister explosion

Guy McCallan following the gas canister explosion - Credit: Archant


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Hearing the noise from the horse fields, Katie, 45, ran to Guy’s side where he had been blown six feet from the bonfire and sustained first and second-degree burns.

“I was running up the field and found him getting to his feet, saying ‘Have I got plastic on my face?’ He realised it wasn’t plastic though, it was his skin.”

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“I remember my face feeling incredibly hot,” Guy added.

“Then as I lifted up my right hand to touch my forehead I could see all the skin hanging off my forearms. As my fingers touched my forehead I could feel the skin hanging off my face. At that point I realised I’d been burned.

Guy McCallan following the gas canister explosion

Guy McCallan following the gas canister explosion - Credit: Archant

“The pain was extreme. I can’t remember anything that painful. It was a bit like what I’d imagine a blowtorch to feel like.”

Katie tried to cool the burns with water before a Magpas crew arrived, bandaging Guy and administering pain relief.

And it was this speedy work which helped Guy’s recovery, after he was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital and then on to a burns unit in Chelmsford.

“When I went to the burns unit they said the initial first response by Magpas was a significant factor in contributing to my long term good recovery. I’ve had no infection and no antibiotics. I’m testimony to their good care.”

His airways undamaged, Guy travelled to the unit every five days for his bandages to be replaced, before being discharged last month.

Now, the couple want to spread the word on safety.

“It’s camping season now, and even if it’s an empty canister it’s still equally as dangerous as a full one,” said Katie.

“I think people forget the full power of them. They’re really dangerous if you put them somewhere they shouldn’t be put.”

“A gas canister is effectively like a little grenade,” Guy added.

“I didn’t know it was there and it could’ve been a lot worse.”

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