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11th April 2011

Compensation for firefighter’s crushed foot

Accident resulted in crushed foot

A retained firefighter whose foot was crushed whilst on duty has received a substantial sum in compensation.

Andrew Murray, 45, from Spilsby in Lincolnshire, was forced to give up not only part time firefighting but his full time job as a financial advisor as well after the accident in Spilsby market place in December 2006.

He was helping to secure a demolished chimney during high winds when his left foot was crushed by a hydraulic platform he was using.

Mr Murray’s colleague lost control of the machinery causing his leg to be caught between the roof of the building and the jaws of the platform.

Still suffers pain and restricted movement

The severe tissue damage in his foot means that five years on Mr Murray still suffers from permanent pain and restricted movement and is no longer fit to continue as a firefighter. Flashbacks and loss of concentration have forced him to quit working as a financial advisor.

Following the accident Mr Murray contacted his trade union, the FBU, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

An investigation into the accident found Mr Murray’s colleague had negligently operated the platform and Thompsons argument that Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service should have made sure his colleague was sufficiently trained in using the platform was accepted when the fire service admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mr Murray said: “I became a retained firefighter as I wanted to give something back to the community. My dream of becoming a full time firefighter was destroyed by the accident because I’m no longer physically able to do the job. Psychologically I suffer flashbacks to the accident and have problems concentrating and that has meant the end of my previous day job as a financial advisor.

“I can no longer work. This compensation helps me financially but it also means a lot that the fire service have accepted responsibility for the accident’s impact on my life.”

Employer failed to provide a safe system of work

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: "Firefighters work in inherently dangerous situations. Andrew just wanted to serve his community as a retained firefighter. Unfortunately he was let down by his employer and injured as a result of the inadequate training at the time. Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service have at least faced up financially to the profound effect their failings have had on his quality of life.”

Esther McConaghie from Thompsons Solicitors Nottingham office said: “Mr Murray’s employer failed to provide a safe system of work and failed to adequately train. It was both dangerous and negligent that firefighters were operating a hydraulic platform when they were not competent to do so.”

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