A gamekeeper who was rescued by his son after a gas explosion has received a five figure sum in compensation after help from Thompsons Solicitors.

The 47-year-old from Okehampton in Devon could have been killed by burn injuries when a hut housing pheasants exploded on Hollycombe Game Farm catapulting him out of the hut and onto the grass. His 23-year-old son saw the explosion and when he reached him his hair, arms and hands were still on fire. The son doused the flames with water from a hose pipe.

His son’s quick reactions mean that he is fortunately scar-free but he lost his finger nails and his skin has been left wrinkly and extremely thin meaning it can be easily torn.

Employer failed to fix gas heater

The accident happened after the gamekeeper smelt gas coming from the hut and on investigation found that a heater pipe had disconnected. He was attempting to reattach the gas heater when it exploded.

The gamekeeper had complained to his employer about pheasants knocking the pipe off the gas heater on a number of occasions but it had never been fixed.

Following the accident he was made redundant and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that Hollycombe Game Farm should have made sure the gas appliances were tested and maintained.

Hollycombe Game Farm admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

The gamekeeper said: “If it wasn’t for my son keeping a level head I’m not sure I’d still be here. He saw the explosion from a distance and managed to get a hose pipe and put the flames out.

“I had warned the Farm time and again about the problem with the gas heater but nothing was ever done to fix it.”

Sarah Wilkinson from Thompsons Solicitors in Leeds said: “If my client’s son hadn’t been around and reacted so quickly he could have paid the ultimate price for his employer’s complete disregard for health and safety practices. Anyone knows that you don’t ignore problems with gas. A failure to have an inspection procedure and where it was obvious there was a dangerous problem getting it fixed has left my client having to live with serious skin problems for the rest of his life. ”