Holiday burns hell for Great Harwood family

Holiday burns hell for Great Harwood family

Kirsty and Tony in hospital after the accident.

Some of Kirsty's burns

The family before the accident

First published in Hyndburn Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

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. ”

Comments (7)

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11:17am Mon 16 Jul 12

useyourhead says...

get well soon T.
get well soon T. useyourhead
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Mon 16 Jul 12

rennie says...

Get well soon tony, thinking of you all
Get well soon tony, thinking of you all rennie
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Mon 16 Jul 12

AccyLass says...

I hope this comment is taken in the context in which it is meant...how can a family go on holiday without insurance? Either you've paid the premium for cover or you haven't. I don't understand how a mistake or mis-understanding can happen.

When I book a holiday I always take out cover immediately with the tour operator, that way there is no ambiguity, or need to remember to add cover at a later date. Yes I am aware that cheaper policies are often available, but as this instance shows - what price are your families lives worth.

And a final check before I leave home..do I have in my hand passports, tickets, insurance details and money.

Notwithstanding the above, this was a dreadful thing to happen to this family, and I truly do wish them all a quick and full recovery – and I hope that anyone who has ever gone on holiday purposely without insurance now realises the importance of it - if you think ‘it won’t happen to me’ it just might.
I hope this comment is taken in the context in which it is meant...how can a family go on holiday without insurance? Either you've paid the premium for cover or you haven't. I don't understand how a mistake or mis-understanding can happen. When I book a holiday I always take out cover immediately with the tour operator, that way there is no ambiguity, or need to remember to add cover at a later date. Yes I am aware that cheaper policies are often available, but as this instance shows - what price are your families lives worth. And a final check before I leave home..do I have in my hand passports, tickets, insurance details and money. Notwithstanding the above, this was a dreadful thing to happen to this family, and I truly do wish them all a quick and full recovery – and I hope that anyone who has ever gone on holiday purposely without insurance now realises the importance of it - if you think ‘it won’t happen to me’ it just might. AccyLass
  • Score: 2

7:30pm Mon 16 Jul 12

ste.g says...

talk about bad luck.dont bother with the lottery.hope your all well soon.
talk about bad luck.dont bother with the lottery.hope your all well soon. ste.g
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Tue 17 Jul 12

ossy-lad says...

Get well soon T and family. Oh, and I don't believe for a minute that you got battered off a russian haha.
Chris.
Get well soon T and family. Oh, and I don't believe for a minute that you got battered off a russian haha. Chris. ossy-lad
  • Score: 1

12:33pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Black Car Guy. says...

This is shocking. Hope they make a full recovery.
This is shocking. Hope they make a full recovery. Black Car Guy.
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Tue 24 Jul 12

workingrentpayer says...

WHY did they not have holiday insurance???!!! CRAZY!!! a family going anywhere abroad should have insurance-it is one of the first things you make sure you have!! Turkey is a wonderful place and i hope this doesn't put people off going because of this family's stupidity. the restaurant in question have said it was the family's fault
WHY did they not have holiday insurance???!!! CRAZY!!! a family going anywhere abroad should have insurance-it is one of the first things you make sure you have!! Turkey is a wonderful place and i hope this doesn't put people off going because of this family's stupidity. the restaurant in question have said it was the family's fault workingrentpayer
  • Score: 0

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