THE victim of a horrific chip pan accident in West Lothian ran across a street with burn injuries, leaving a trail of bloody footprints, neighbours have said.
John Bage suffered severe burns to his body after the handle of his chip pan broke off, covering him from head to foot in burning oil.
The 35-year-old screamed for help as he ran to neighbours, collapsing in agony halfway up a flight of stairs.
The accident happened on Monday evening, as Mr Bage tried to move the chip pan after the oil caught fire. Flaming liquid poured over his chest, arms, legs and feet.
He suffered injuries to the inside of his throat as a result of inhaling fumes.
Mr Bage ran across Glebe Road in Whitburn wearing only his shorts and found friend Leigh Cameron, 22.
Miss Cameron said: “It was horrible. It’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. He was hysterical. He was shouting: ‘My house is on fire, my house is on fire.’
“He tried to get up the stairs to my house but could only make it halfway up. His feet were terrible, and his arms were badly burned.”
She and her parents gave the victim first aid, and accompanied him to St John’s Hospital in Livingston, with him suffering “incredible pain”.
“The paramedics gave him a full dose of morphine but he was still in a lot of pain in the ambulance,” she said.
“He had burns to 30 per cent of his body.
“He had skin hanging off him. John is a big guy and he can take some amount of pain, but I’ve never seen anything like that before.
“He just said he put on his dinner and the next minute he saw flames bursting out from the kitchen. He said he tried to put it out but he dropped the pan.”
It is understood Mr Bage has since been transferred to a hospital in Glasgow for treatment.
Pensioner Danny Dunn, 76, lives in the flat below Mr Bage and had to be rescued by neighbours who saw the house was on fire.
He said: “I hope the boy’s okay – it was quite scary.”
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that a man received “severe burns” in the incident.
She said: “The kitchen is the most common place in the home for a house fire to start.
“Chip pans in particular catch fire easily. We would urge people to swap to an electric deep fat fryer, which is much safer.
“If a chip pan catches fire, don’t try to move the pan or throw water on it. Call the Fire and Rescue Service, even if you think you’ve put the fire out.
“If you can, turn off the heat – but don’t take risks. Put a damp towel over the pan to smother the flames. Leave the room closing the door behind you to avoid smoke inhalation.”