Man warns of £2 object that burned his house down and almost killed his family and made them homeless
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A man who accidently burned his house down has warned of the thing that did it, and has gone on to become a firefighter. Paul O’Brien, 47, caused more than £100,000 to his house after putting a disposable barbecue in his wheelie bin.
After disposing of it, he went to bed but was woken up hours later by banging on the door and his girlfriend screaming. Luckily, they both made it out with their two children, then aged two and eight.
“Looking out of our bedroom, you could see the two kids’ bedrooms, and it was just bright orange,” said Paul. “Because we opened the front door, the oxygen came in and the fire just went whoosh, and the smoke just engulfed the house. It felt like we were there for an hour. In reality, it was three or four minutes.
The incident occurred in June 2021. Paul invited some friends round to his home in Lytham, Lancashire for a barbecue as they watched a football match. Paul said the BBQ felt ‘cold to the touch’ when he binned it.
The devastating fire cost the family almost all of their possessions and they were forced to live in temporary accommodation for two years. But, two years on, Paul is now an on-call firefighter in the town as a way of “giving back to the community”
He added: “I thought I knew how long the coals could smoulder for. I was wrong. There was just one little rogue ember in there even though it had been out for ten hours and a £2 barbecue caused over £100,000 of damage to my home. If you do use one, submerge it in water to be certain it is no longer burning.”
Now, as a trained firefighter, he is warning others of the danger. He said: “You think you know how to put out a barbecue, you think you’ve done the right thing. The barbecue had been out for ten hours and you put it in the bin.”