Classic car specialist became engulfed in flames while working on a car
A self-employed classic car mechanic has suffered 45 per cent burns after his family say he waited two hours for an ambulance following a workshop explosion.
Chris Williams-Ellis was working on a car at his home in Corwen, Denbighshire when it suddenly caught fire on September 8.
His partner, Catherine Stewart, pulled him to safety, but his family say it took repeated calls to Wales Ambulance Service before paramedics arrived at the scene.
The service has since apologised for the delay.
Ms Stewart said: “Chris was underneath a car when something unknown caused a spark and this in turn set fire to Chris.
“I managed to pull Chris, who was very badly burned, out from under the car and called emergency services.
“I then watched helplessly as the fire engulfed everything in the barn, including a number of vehicles, all Chris’s tools and the roof.”
Chris was originally taken to Whiston Hospital, in Merseyside, where he underwent skin grafts, but after developing pneumonia, he was transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital, Greater Manchester, and placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine to take over his heart and lung functions.
At one point the Chris was given a 50/50 chance of survival.
Ms Stewart added: “Chris has been fighting hard and he has now been removed from this life support, but still in a coma in intensive care and just recently underwent skin grafts to repair his worst burns on his arms and hands.
“He will be in hospital for a long time to receive ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.”
Jason Killens, chief executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We know this will be a profoundly upsetting time for the family of Mr Williams-Ellis, and the thoughts of everyone at the ambulance service are with them.
“Given the very serious nature of what happened, an investigation to determine the exact sequence of events and the cause of the unacceptable delay – for which we are very sorry – is being prioritised and concluded as swiftly as possible.
“We are an organisation committed to learning and improvement, and have offered to meet the Williams-Ellis family to take them through our findings and any lessons identified in full.
“Our thoughts remain with Mr Williams-Ellis and his family at this deeply distressing time.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family, raising more than £5,000 so far.