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2nd July 2009

£250,000 for badly injured firefighter

Injured after falling into 20ft pit

A firefighter who suffered extensive injuries when he fell down a 20ft pit while trying to put out a blaze has received £250,000 in compensation.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) member received the accident compensation after he attended a fire at Sigmacast Iron Ltd in Cardiff in September 2004. The firm makes iron castings for the car industry.

The Cardiff-based firefighter was walking through the building with an employee of the firm to find the best way to tackle the fire when he fell down a 20ft deep unguarded pit containing a mixture of oil, water and discarded steel parts.

Broken Wrist and Broken Elbow

The 33-year-old broke his left wrist, right elbow, received a puncture injury to his leg and ruptured ligaments in his left knee.

It took almost two years to recover from his injuries and when he returned to work in June 2006 he had to undertake light duties for a short period. Three years later he is now able to work as a fully operational Watch Manager but is concerned how his injuries may affect his work in the future.

He said: “I am able to deal with all of the duties that are asked of me but I suffer some aching to my knee, wrist and elbow after a particularly difficult shift.

“I am concerned about what the long-term holds for me. I worry that the injuries to my joints will have an impact on the manual work I can do in the future and will limit my employment opportunities. I still find it hard to come to terms with what happened on that day. It was totally unexpected.”

Thompsons Solicitors in Swansea dealt with case

Following the accident he contacted his union the FBU which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. Signmacast Iron Ltd admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

The compensation included damages for pain and suffering, loss of the opportunity for promotion and full earning capacity. A proportion of wages and medical care provided by the fire service was refunded to the service.

Grant Mayos from the FBU said: “This case show how important free legal services are for our members who risk their lives on a daily basis. While firefighters are trained at the highest level to work in dangerous fire situations nothing could have prepared this member for falling into what was effectively a trap.”

William Gasson from Thompsons Solicitors in Swansea added: “It is unbelievable that basic safety precautions had not been taken to guard this pit. Our client was lucky to have escaped with his life.”

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