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3 August 2011, 10:54
An inventor's suffered burns after blowing himself up while building a hovercraft in his workshop.
Boffin Mike Groom suffered 40 per cent burns when a gas cylinder exploded, wrecking two buildings and destroying his camper van at his home in Bengal, Greens Norton, near Towcester, Northamptonshire on Wednesday 3 August 2011.
Fire crews spent the following night cooling down other cylinders which were in danger of exploding.
The 67-year-old was airlifted to the Queens Hospital in Birmingham with flash burns to his chest following the explosion on the afternoon of Tuesday 2 August.
One neighbour said: "There was a loud bang and a terrific amount of smoke. The fire brigade used so much water the lane to his house has been flooded and you can't get through."
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "Mike is a proper inventor. He used to work for Hesketh racing before he retired.
"He is always doing something in his workshop. He has got a microlight and works on cars and motorbikes. He was building a hovercraft when the explosion happened.
"I just hope he gets through, but with those sort of burns he will never be the same again."
When the explosion happened police set up a cordon and evacuated homes until several other cylinders in the workshop were cooled. The road to his home was shut.
A Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "One acetylene cylinder exploded and there are other cylinders of the site which we are cooling down. We will be at the scene through Wednesday, standing by and making sure everything is safe.
"There were two workshops involved, which were 10 by 20 metres in size. They have been severely damaged."