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Harvey, 15: Explosion that cost me an eye
3:00pm Thursday 16th August 2012 in News
TEENAGER Harvey Rowe has spoken for the first time about the terrible accident which cost him his sight in one eye. Harvey, 15, was injured in an explosion after he found unsecured explosives in a rail depot.
He said: “There is a lot of regret in the way everything happened.
“I think someone has made a huge mistake in how they tried to get rid of the explosives. It’s probably not legal to leave them in a lunch box in a skip.
“It’s changed my life. I guess it’s something I’m going to have to get used to.”
He added: “I’m very happy with the way the surgeons have helped me.”
Harvey’s mother said she was angry at Network Rail for having such poor security.
Claire Rowe, 46, of Herschell Road, Leigh , said Harvey and his friends found the detonators in an unsecured box in a skip at the depot, next to the skatepark at Leigh marshes.
The mother-of-four heard the explosion from her home, but thought the sound of the detonators, used to warn workmen of an approaching train, exploding was fireworks.
She said: “I’m angry Harvey has had to pay the price for Network Rail’s sloppiness.”
Harvey, described as a grade-A pupil at Belfairs High School , said he and his friends had been getting into the depot through a gap in the fence for almost two years ago. Some other children had even built a den there.
His two 17-year-old friends have been arrested on suspicion of theft and released on police bail. Mrs Rowe said Harvey and the two youths found the box of detonators while looking for fuel for a campfire.
Harvey wanted the red box to store his BMX tools, so tipped the detonators on an unlit rubbish pile.
The boys, who had no idea they were explosives, later lit the fire. Realising the danger, one boy poured water on the fire and Harvey was trying to kick the detonators away when one exploded, blowing splinters into his right eye.
He underwent emergency facial surgery at Southend Hospital on Saturday night but has lost the sight of that eye.
Mrs Rowe added: “He is as well as can be expected. “He is 15 years old and his eye is a mess. Apart from that, he is OK physically, but mentally, I don’t know.”
Network Rail, which has declined to comment while British Transport Police investigate, replaced the two missing metal rails from the fence the day after the explosion.
Mrs Rowe added: “I’m angry he went through there, but kids are kids.
“If there’s a hole in the fence and everyone else is going through there, he is going to go too.
“My husband and I are so angry Network Rail has allowed the perimeter fence not to be fixed for two years.”