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Man rescued from fire in a critical condition
9:00am Thursday 17th January 2013 in Local News
A DISABLED man who was rescued from a fire in his flat is not expected to survive.
Wheelchair-bound Shane Bland, 26, survived a dramatic rescue in November from a blaze which badly damaged four flats in a house in Fairfax Drive in Westcliff and left one man with serious burns.
Mr Bland, who has myotonic dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, was taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation but later released from hospital and returned to his soot-laden flat.
His father believes the four weeks he spent there contributed to his eventual collapse on December 23.
Stephen Bland who lives with his son said: “I wanted the council to find him somewhere else but all they could offer was a hotel. That isn’t suitable for Shane because of the oxygen tanks and other equipment he needs so he had to go home.
“There was soot all over the walls and he was breathing it in. His condition leaves him very prone to lung problems and that wasn’t helping but there was nothing we could do.”
Shane’s condition rapidly deteriorated following his return home.
Mr Bland added: “He had to be rushed to hospital as an emergency. He has developed pnuemonia while he was in hospital and now they say there is no more they can do for him. I believe it is because of the time he spent breathing all that soot in. I am absolutely devastated.”
Shane is now in intensive care where he has been put on a life support machine.
In November the Echo reported a plumber, who had been installing a wet room in the Bland’s flat, lit a blow torch which ignited fumes and set his clothes on fire. He was taken to Broomfield Hospital suffering severe burns.
Fire crews who attended the blaze wore breathing apparatus to make their way through thick smoke to rescue people left trapped in the building, including Shane.
Paul Longman group manager for property services at South Essex Homes which manages the building, said: “We sought guidance from Essex Fire and Rescue Service as to whether their flat was habitable on their return and we were informed that it was.
“Most of the smoke damage was confined to the communal area of the building, although some redecoration of the flat was deemed necessary due to soot marks on the walls and ceilings.”
“Contractors working for South Essex Homes subsequently visited the flat and were able to carry out some initial re-decoration work.
“However, this did not include Shane’s bedroom, which they were unable to gain access to.”
Mr Bland maintains this is because he has had to spend time at his son’s hospital bedside.
Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive said: “We fully understand Mr Bland’s distress given the very serious nature of his son’s illness and we would once again reassure him that Shane is continuing to receive full and active critical care while in our hospital.”
MYOTONIC dystrophy is a progressive inherited condition.
It causes mild to severe muscle weakness, particularly of the face and eyelids, jaw, neck, forearms and hands, lower legs and feet. It can affect speech and result in a lack of facial expressions.
Sufferers also have difficulty in relaxing a muscle after it has been contracted, for example it may be difficult to let go after gripping something.
The condition is associated with heart problems with abnormal rhythms a common problem.
Chest and breathing problems are also a major problem for those with the condition. Chest infections may result from weakness of breathing muscles or from food entering the lungs as a result of poor swallowing.
Inadequate breathing during the night may lead to disturbed sleep, difficulty waking, morning headaches, loss of appetite and daytime sleepiness.
Regular breathing tests, and sometimes overnight oxygen saturation tests, are often needed to detect problems early.
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