The moment the fuel crisis got serious

It was exactly the kind of incident that the fire brigade had been worried about.

Shortly after 6pm on Thursday, 46-year-old Diane Hill was cooking dinner in the kitchen of her home Acomb, York. The oven was on and her two daughters Lauren, 23, and Grace, 18, were sitting in the garden.

Exactly what happened next is still uncertain, but it appears that Ms Hill decided to use a break in her cooking to transfer some petrol from a jerry can into a jug to use in her daughter's car.

As she did so fumes from the fuel were ignited by the gas fire in her oven, triggering an explosion which left her in a critical condition in hospital with 40 per cent burns.

Neighbours described Ms Hill running out of the house still on fire as her daughters ran to phone for an ambulance.

Margot Johnston, 86, said she saw a cloud of smoke coming over the hedge.

"I had been gardening and came in to make myself a cup of tea and I was aware of a cloud of smoke. I thought because it was a lovely day that they must be having a barbecue. Then I noticed there was someone in the garden who seemed to be on fire. Diane had obviously got home and started to cook dinner while decanting petrol."

Peter Hudson, spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said paramedics and firefighters arrived there in minutes.

"Her daughter asked her mum for petrol because she had run out. She did not think about the fact the gas cooker was on," he said. "The petrol then went up and she got burnt. Thankfully we were there very quickly."

Ms Hill was taken to Pinderfields Hospital with "serious and significant burns", and was last night said to be in a critical but stable condition.

Mr Hudson warned other members of the public to take extreme care when handling and storing petrol.

"Never bring petrol inside your home," he advised. "Fuel containers must not be stored in living accommodation. If you do smell petrol fumes in a garage, ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off.

"The slightest spark could cause an explosion."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power