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A father-of-three who had a narrow escape after he caught fire in a Sheffield gin distillery accident on Wednesday, attributes his lucky streak to being overweight! Paul Harrison met with a near-death experience after his body was set ablaze— and first and second-degree burns—due to an accidental explosion.

The experimental glitch, as reported by Wales Online, led to compressed alcohol at 85C being squirted out of a still before being ignited by propane, which caused serious burning to his hands, arms, face, and torso. Harrison was rushed to Sheffield's Northern General Hospital before being transferred to Pinderfields Hospital, where he was treated in the specialist burns unit. Harrison spent roughly about 10 weeks treating the burns, including 10 days in a coma.

The 34-year-old distiller, however, thanks to his lucky stars (and body mass) for the survival, and also explained why he returned to work as a distiller. “If I had been 10 years older I wouldn't be here and if I had been any shorter I wouldn't be here because I would have got it full frontal in the face. If I had been any slimmer too I probably wouldn't be here so there was a benefit to being overweight,” said Harrison to the media outlet.

“I feel very lucky and there was a 55 percent chance of surviv al and 45 percent the other way because of the extent of my injuries,” he added.

Harrison lives with his wife Hannah and their three children. Recounting the ghastly experience, Harrison stated in the media outlet: “The botanicals got blocked at the top of the still which created a pressure build-up. Liquid doesn't like being compressed so it squirted out at 85C which scalded me first and then because we were using a propane burner that ignited it and the whole lot went up. Now the little still is no longer in use. That is a decorative item now and we just use the big still which poses no risk whatsoever.”

What’s horrifying to note is how Harrison literally watched his palms “fall off” as the fire spiraled out of control. The accident proved to be one of the most harrowing experiences of his life, and also reported experiencing and an "out of body experience" before he was put in a coma. Given how the incident occurred during the lockdown, Harrison was separated from his family, with the only resort left for his wife being calling ICU for daily updates on Paul’s condition.

While there’s still a long way to go before a complete recovery comes through; Harrison believes he’s looking forward to work. “I've still got a lot of recoveries and luckily because of furlough the pub has been able to keep me on that. I've been doing admin since August but started working in the distillery again. Nobody rushed me to go back and I'm quite pragmatic about things. I don't get wound up or stressed about things I can't change. I know nowadays if I've done too much and if I've had a busy few days my body just says 'no' and I won't get out of bed,” he said as per Daily Mail.

“It's more frustrating that I can't do things like play the guitar or violin, or play rugby. It's going to take time and I don't know what my recovery time will be. I just know that I couldn't have asked for better care from the staff at Pinderfields. From the doctors and nurses to the housekeeping staff and occupational therapists – they have all been exceptional and I wouldn't be as far along as I am without their expertise."

House on fire
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