Dean Beggs’ arms and face were badly burned after a workplace fire – he was engulfed in flames after opening a door and causing a backdraft explosion.
“My face and arms were on fire – my clothes melted off my arm pretty quickly. I just remember bouncing off a container, landing, and seeing I had no sleeves,” he said.
The 22-year-old team leader, of Linwood, explained that he was forced to dash for the nearest water source he could find – a muddy puddle. He frantically jumped in and rolled about, desperate to douse the flames as they scorched three layers of clothes off his body.
A colleague dialled 999 and ambulance crews, the Scottish Ambulance Service’s trauma team and the Special Operations Response Team shortly afterwards.
“The crews seemed to arrive all at the same time – I was given oxygen straight away and from the very first moment, I knew I was in good hands,” said Dean.
“The paramedics who attended couldn’t have done anymore and made my horrific injury easier to deal with thanks to their care.
“I think they were all wondering how to get me into the ambulance without touching me. It was very, very painful.”
Dean, who is due to get married next year to Kayleigh McDonald, was rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and was in surgery not long after that. He spent five days in Intensive Care, then two weeks in the Burns Unit at Glasgow Royal, before he was discharged three weeks after the incident.
He has had skin grafts on both hands, and still visits the burns unit, as well as a psychologist. Once home, he was assisted by his fiancé throughout his recovery, which is still ongoing.
Dean continued: “It’s still painful – my skin is tight and simple tasks are difficult. It’s painful all day, every day.
“I don’t sleep at all really – I cannot remember the last time I slept well. There’s no escape from it. It’s all still quite raw. I didn’t know if I was going to make it.”
Thankful for having survived the accident in January 2019, Dean recently reached out to Scottish Ambulance Service staff who helped him.
He recently had an emotional reunion with three members of SAS who helped to save his life; Suzie Thomson, of the Trauma Team, technician Craig McLean and paramedic Gaye McLean, both based at Greenock. Neil Sinclair, of the Trauma Team, also assisted Dean on the day of the accident.
Dean added: “It was a good end to a really horrific story. Getting to see the team who helped – I suppose you could say – save my life, was quite emotional and I was taken back and was shaking when I first saw them.
“I’m not normally like that - I couldn’t think of the words to describe how grateful I was for their fast response and help. It’s overwhelming how quick they got there. I could easily not be here if they weren’t so quick.
“I would just like to say a massive thank you to the Scottish Ambulance Service for their assistance and all the surgeons, nurses and doctors who helped me in my recovery - I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the NHS.”