Bonfire death GP Darryl Peel had 'no idea' of risk

Darryl and Susie Peel
Image caption Susie Peel said her husband's death was a "long and lingering process"

The widow of a Suffolk GP who died after pouring petrol on to items to be used in a bonfire said her husband had "no idea" of the risk he was taking.

Dr Darryl Peel, 51, was critically burnt as he lit a fire at his home in Huntingfield, near Halesworth, in February.

He died 20 days later at the specialist burns unit in Chelmsford.

His widow Susie Peel said Dr Peel's time in hospital had been a "long and lingering process".

Dr Peel, who worked at Framlingham Surgery, had been clearing out the yard at his home on 6 February.

Mrs Peel said: "It was long and lingering process and was very distressing for all his friends and family because he was bandaged from head to foot and not able to communicate.

"I was very shocked by the amount of medical and educated people, who you might have thought would have known the dangers, who had no clue - almost everybody said that they had done the same thing.

"That horrified me because of the potential for this to happen to another family."

Dr Peel managed to phone the emergency services and was airlifted to Broomfield Hospital.

Image caption Dave Pederson said people should "never" use accelerants on a bonfire

He had burns all over his body and his treatment involved him being put into a coma, from which he never awoke.

Mrs Peel said: "It had started to rain and I suspect the pile he had made got wet and he decided to give it a helping hand - he would never have thrown petrol onto a lit bonfire.

"What happens is the vapour from petrol spreads around the ground, clings to your clothes and when he lit the bonfire he was enveloped in a ball of flame."

Dave Pederson, group commander from Suffolk Fire Service, said: "If people must have a bonfire, they should never use petrol or other accelerants.

"Petrol constantly evaporates in our climate and people have a lack of understanding of how dangerous the vapours can be and how far they can spread and still be flammable."

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