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Issue #1542      4 April 2012

Maude faces calls to go after burns horror

Britain: Tory Minister Francis Maude faced calls last week from opposition MPs for his resignation after a woman set herself alight decanting petrol in her kitchen.

The woman suffered 40 percent burns in the horrific incident after her clothing caught fire as she poured petrol from a container to a glass jug while cooking dinner.

She was taken to Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield.

The incident, which occurred in the Acomb area of York, follows advice issued by Mr Maude for people to stockpile petrol in view of potential strike action by tanker drivers. The Cabinet Office Minister was forced to apologise after his comments were condemned by firefighters and safety experts.

The coalition continued to advise the public to top up their tanks causing widespread chaos at filling stations across the country.

The Fire Brigades Union called on the government to make an urgent public safety announcement highlighting the dangers of petrol in the home.

While not specifically linking the incident to Mr Maude’s comments, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We do not know the details of this tragic incident which will be of concern to everyone in the fire service. Any firefighter hearing what happened will be deeply concerned for the woman involved and her family.

“What this incident shows are the dangers of handling petrol, especially in the home. Petrol is highly flammable, highly explosive, easily ignited and toxic and that message needs to be sent out loud and clear.

“The public do not understand the extreme dangers posed by petrol handling or storage and they must be advised as a matter of urgency. It is particularly critical at this time when we are entering a period when kids are off school.”

Morning Star  

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