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Holiday burns hell for Great Harwood family
A DAD has spoken of his horror after his family was set alight by a fireball in a Turkish restaurant.
Tony Barr suffered second and third-degree burns after a waiter’s attempt to flambe their fish dinner went disastrously wrong.
His wife, Kirsty, 35, and two of his daughters, Jessica 15 and two-year-old Rosie, were also injured.
Tony and Kirsty spent a week in a Turkish hospital while Jessica and Rosie, who had been asleep at the time, needed regular outpatient appointments.
The worst of the couple’s burns were to their heads, arms, chest and neck. Rosie was left with burnt legs.
The fire completed a miserable trip for the family, who were on holiday to celebrate Tony and Kirsty’s 6th wedding anniversary.
On their first day, an earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, caused damage to their hotel room and shattered a bottle of aftershave in Tony’s eyes.
Then he said he was kicked and punched by a Russian man on a beach after objecting to lewd behaviour in front of his children.
The family also realised they did not have travel insurance after a mix up between Tony and his wife.
Tony, from Whalley Road, Great Harwood, said he felt lucky to have survived the fire.
Brave Accrington Academy pupil Jessica, 15, burnt her forearm grabbing Rosie from her pram before the blaze spread further at the La Luna restaurant in Marmaris.
Tony’s other daughter, Amy, also 15, managed to dive for cover and escaped unharmed.
The waiter had been using a bottle of alcohol to help cook a local ‘fish in salt’ dish before it caught fire.
As it set alight he squeezed the bottle shooting the flames over the Barrs.
Tony, a 42-year-old chimney sweep, said he leapt from the restaurant balcony where the family were sat as he caught fire.
He said: “We feared for our lives. It was the worst time of my life. It went beyond a holiday from hell.
“It may have been an accident but the waiter was an idiot. Anybody knows you shouldn’t mess with alcohol near fire, especially when kids are around.
“He set my family, including my baby, on fire.
“This would never have happened in a British restaurant but there appeared to be no health and safety rules in Turkey.”
Tony said he was furious when the restaurant suggested afterwards that he was responsible for the chaos.
Police in Marmaris are aware of the incident but have not made any arrests.
To add insult to injury, the family were initially refused medical treatment, because the couple had not booked travel insurance.
Tony, who was left with a perforated eardrum after the bottle exploded, said he wanted to make sure that other families did not make the same mistake after he was landed with a £3,500 hospital bill.
He said: “I thought Kirsty had booked the insurance but didn’t realise until it was too late. You can’t put a price on your family’s health and I would say to people please make sure you are 100 per cent covered before you go away.
“I’m working with my lawyer regarding compensation from the restaurant.”
Tony said the experience had put him off going on holiday.
He said: “I won’t be going abroad again.
“Rosie hasn’t stopped crying since we came home and Kirsty hasn’t been herself either.
“The burns on my arm mean I won’t be able to work for at least a month. Some of them will never heal properly.”
Tony said he was initially refused permission to fly without a certificate to prove he was healthy enough, which meant a further agonising wait before he could return home.
In total Tony and Kirsty spent five weeks in Turkey. Their break should have lasted for just two weeks.
But he praised travel agent Thomas Cook who flew out his sister Janet, from Clayton-le-Moors, to look after his three girls while he and Kirsty were in hospital.
He said: “Thomas Cook have been our saviours in all of this. They flew Janet out free of charge to take the kids home, then put us up when we left hospital and paid a £225 car parking fee when we got back to England.
“I can’t thank them enough. ”