A fire fighter who broke his ankle and ended up having to resign from the service as a result has received compensation.

The 37-year-old FBU member from Porth, Mid Glamorgan, gave up his 10-year career as a retained fire fighter after he broke his right ankle when he tripped on uneven ground in Porth Fire Station during a weekly exercise wearing breathing apparatus in 2007.

As a result of his injury the Sports Development Officer for Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council was unable to work as a lead fire fighter for 12 months and when he returned it was on light duties. He soon realised that the extent of his injuries meant he could not fulfil the role as he wished and handed in his notice.

He also had to have six weeks off from his day job during which he was unable to continue teaching private swimming lessons.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident he contacted the FBU for advice, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

It became clear that the area where the member tripped had already been identified with yellow spray paint as hazardous. However, the training drill which involved wearing masks which affected the fire fighters’ vision continued without it being cordoned off.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority denied liability but settled the claim out of court.

Couldn't continue working after accident

The member said: “I loved working as a retained fire fighter but after the accident I couldn’t continue working in the role to the best of my ability. If I hadn’t fallen and broken my ankle I’ve no doubt I’d have continued working as a fire fighter for a very long time.”

Chris Howells regional secretary at the FBU said: “An area of the yard had been identified as potentially dangerous and yet the training drill, using masks, was allowed to go ahead without a cordon. The fire service is trusted for saving people in dangerous situations, but in this case it was unable to keep its own member of staff safe during a routine training exercise.”

William Gasson from Thompsons Solicitors added: “There was a risk assessment of the drill area but the fire service had failed to follow it through with appropriate action. The result is that an experienced fire fighter was injured and ultimately forced to give up his role.”