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
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.