Well he [my son] said that the health and safety procedures were almost nil, and he was being bullied by his general manager into taking huge safety risks, and on the 11th April 2005, which was in fact my birthday, the last birthday I’ve celebrated, he phoned to say that he had got another job, and he would be handing in his notice. And I never spoke to him again. That was the last time I spoke to him.
And on the 12th April the general manager in that company took a load of 4000 aerosols, gas filled aerosols for processing for scrap, and he loaded them into a baling machine and he told Mark to bale them up. The aerosols were filled with butane gas as I said, Mark was alone in the building, there was a huge explosion, fireball which blew part of the roof off the building, and the windows out, and Mark was set alight. The fire exit was locked from the inside, Mark was screaming for help, there was no fire hose, there was no fire blanket, the staff had never had fire drill, they didn’t know where the extinguishers were, when they found, the extinguishers, they were empty. So he was basically left to burn to death.
I’m so sorry.
When the fire, when the ambulance arrived, Mark was still alive, he actually walked into the ambulance. The first we knew was a phone call from my daughter in law, and she said, “You have to come now, there’s been an explosion, and Mark’s in hospital, and there’s no hope.” So my husband and I just threw a case, threw a case in the car and it took us five hours to get down there, and we arrived at the hospital, oh about midnight, and they took us upstairs to the intensive care and a young doctor, a very nice, that was the last act of kindness I think, that was shown to us, the doctor explained to us what had happened, and said they had thought of taking Mark, moving Mark to a burns unit, but he said he chances of survival are nil, so we thought we would make him comfortable and keep him here till you came. So we went in to the room and he was just burned beyond recognition.
Just a charred body. And we were allowed to see him, excuse me, we were allowed to say goodbye, and while we were sitting there saying goodbye there was a clattering of dishes from the sink, from the kitchen next door, somebody very noisily washing dishes, at midnight, and because it, it, you know it sort of got through to my brain because I thought how come somebody be washing dishes, when some, my son is dying.
And when we came out of the room they switched the life support system off, we came out of the room and this woman met us in the corridor and said, “Well I can go home now folks, would anybody like a lift?”, with a dish towel in her hand. And I learned later that that was the Family Liaison Officer. That was my first introduction to the Family Liaison Officer. Not one sorry, no regrets, just “I can go home now” he’s dead. That was the, that was the impression.
What was she doing washing dishes?
Ah, well she’d been making coffee and whatever, and you know she’d been waiting there for us coming, and the family were there, my son’s best friend was there, he was the best man at their the wedding. He was there with his wife, and they were supporting my daughter in law.