Man burnt while disconnecting gas cylinder

A Christchurch man received burns to his arm and leg when the lpg cylinder he was attending to caught fire at the Glendhu Bay Lakeside Holiday Park late yesterday morning.

The man is understood to have been a member of a group of two families who were packing up their tents to return home.

Witnesses saw flames suddenly erupt from the lpg cylinder as the man was disconnecting it.

Fellow campers helped him to a cold water tap and then to the lake to immerse him in the cold water until an ambulance arrived from Wanaka.

The man was treated for minor injuries at the Wanaka Medical Centre, a St John spokesman said.

Senior Constable Mike Johnston, of Wanaka, said the man had disconnected the cylinder from a gas barbecue cooker and ''when he disconnected it there was gas flowing from the container and not too far away from that was a gas-operated fridge with a flame''.

''That flame has actually ignited the escaped gas and it's caused a minor explosion.''

Other campers did well in placing the man on a seat in the lake and submerging his burns, Snr Const Johnston said. It was fortunate the tents where the fire happened were canvas, which were harder to ignite than nylon, he said.

Nylon hiking tents would ''go up in the blink of an eye''.

It was also fortunate the fire happened in an area where there was not a high density of tents.

The cylinder was properly certified, Snr Const Johnston said.

''It's just for some reason the gas bottle wasn't turned off when [it] was turned off and that is still part of the investigation.''

Camp manager Keith Waddell said the gas set fire to the surrounding area and clothes that were ready to be packed.

The park had firefighting hoses, but did not have the specialist foam equipment used by the fire brigade to cool lpg bottles that caught fire.

mark.price@odt.co.nz