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Dave and Lee’s story: ‘She was caught in the explosion’

Fire and emergency support volunteer talking to a firefighter© InfoOur volunteers raced through deep snow to help the family of a woman badly burned in a domestic gas explosion.

When a gas explosion tore apart a residential property in Basingstoke, 20 neighbouring properties had to be immediately evacuated – and the local fire service called on the Red Cross for help.

Fire and emergency support (FES) volunteers Dave Boulter and Lee Grover drove through the snow to find a scene of devastation. The explosion had quickly turned into a large fire and caused severe damage to the home. But there was worse news.

‘Severe burns’

Dave recalled: “The lady of the house had caught fire in the explosion. She ran up the stairs to her husband, who put her in the shower, but she still suffered 27 per cent burns and was taken straight to hospital, accompanied by husband.”

However, the couple’s two adult sons – understandably in shock – were still at the scene and needing support. 

Dave said: “We began talking to the sons. Obviously, their mum was paramount in their thoughts, so it was good that we were there to look out for them and provide the support they needed.”

Trusty emblem

He added: “We also needed to deal with securing and boarding up the house, which at that point was still totally open. As we did this, we also helped retrieve some important personal items, such as a laptop that the mum was particularly anxious about.”

The volunteers then helped set up a nearby rest centre and stayed at the scene for six hours, providing up-to-date information and comforting several shaken residents.

Afterwards, David reflected: “The Red Cross emblem is so well known that it puts people at ease to see us during a crisis. People are often surprised to see us turn up after a fire and learn that we can actually help them a lot.”

He added: “I think we achieved what we set out to do, which was move those people on a little in their lives to improve their situation. Hopefully we made a difference.”

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