Badly burnt fireman Merv Neil yesterday walking into a meeting at the Hamilton fire station for a briefing on the Fire Service report into the Icepak fire that left him with burns to 73% of his body.
Fire Service Commission chair Dame Margaret Bazley told a community meeting later that day at Tamahere that it was good to see the progress in Neil’s recovery and he was in good heart at the meeting. Neil intended to return to work.
Fire chief Mike Hall said Neil, who was in a drug induced coma for 10 weeks in Middlemore Hospital and was later moved to Waikato Hospital was about to be released to his home under medical supervision. He was progressing well and was on a light fitness and physio programme.
Neil had thought it was the day after the blast when he awoke from the 10-week coma, Hall said.
Neil’s actions on the day of the fire, which came despite his severe burns, were praised in the report.
Hall gave an update on the other firemen injured in the April 5, who he said had extremely positive attitudes and just wanted to get back to work.
Cameron Grylls – returned to duty within two weeks of the incident.
Dennis Wells – returned to duty.
Adrian Brown – on light duties, undertaking physio and fitness programme. Still four to six months from full duties.
Alvan Walker – on light duties, undertaking physio and fitness programme. About a month from full duties.
Brian Halford – undertaking light fitness programme, healing well with several facial reviews to be undertaken. Expected to be 12 months from return to duty.
David Beanland – healing well with several facial reviews to be undertaken. Healing very well after some surgery. Expected to be still 12 months from return to duty.