Following severe injury in a fire, 15-year-old Connor Rowntree is helping Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service spread the fire safety message.

Connor Rowntree was only 15 when he sustained life-threatening injuries when a blaze broke out at his friends' house in St Matthew's Terrace, Newbottle, Tyne and Wear. When firefighters arrived at the scene, he was unrecognisable to his father and he suffered 90% burns as the flames engulfed his body. The 15-year-old's scalp and the soles of his feet were the only parts of his body which were not horrifically burnt in the terrifying accident on May 17th 2009.

Connor was left fighting for his life. He caught an infection, his organs collapsed and he had fluid on his lungs. He was repeatedly in and out of intensive care and was not expected to survive.

It has been a long battle for Connor who came close to losing his fight a dozen times during his 11 month stay in hospital and he has had over 100 skin grafts and medical procedures. The only skin he had left to graft his whole body was his scalp and his buttock. He still needs to wear a pressure suit to protect his healing skin and he is learning to live with his scars. Connor returned to hospital in June 2011 to receive further skin grafts and cosmetic surgery to his lips, cheek, chin and neck.

Unselfishly, he has put his suffering to one side to help Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to warn other youngsters not to mess with fire. 

He helped to front the 2010 bonfires and fireworks campaign by allowing Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to make a hard hitting documentary about his story to say to others 'Don't let this happen to you'. Connor and his family are keen to spread the fire safety message, and are available to travel the UK talking to key stage 3 pupils about his experience. Each session lasts approx one hour and consists of the 25 min DVD, and the family, mum, dad and Connor, hosting a question and answer session. Questions can be asked face to face or anonymously on paper.

Connor's main aim in talking to kids is to show the consequences of messing about with fire and to let them see for themselves that it could happen to them, just as it did to him.

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Photo: Connor Rowntree with Prince Harry


Posted November 8th, 2011 at 0910 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: