A retained fire fighter who needed surgery on his ankle after he was injured trying to close antiquated heavy doors at his fire station has received £20,000 in compensation.

The FBU member was attempting to close the huge 12ft high by 16ft wide front doors to the station when the accident happened in 2008.

One of the doors jammed causing him to slip and hit his head on a parked fire engine. He was left with a deep cut to his neck, a sprained arm and suffered an ankle injury which needed surgery.

The fire fighter’s primary employment was also affected by his prolonged absence from work. He was in plaster for four months and off work for six months.

He has needed intensive physiotherapy and although now fit enough to continue in both jobs he can no longer exercise as much as he wants to and suffers ongoing pain.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident the FBU member instructed the union’s lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, to pursue a claim for compensation.

The fire fighter said the doors were faulty and stiff and added that many fire stations around the country now have automated front doors.

Thompsons argued that the Fire and Rescue Service failed in its duty of care to the injured employee by not having an inspection system in place to highlight and fix problems with the doors.

The fire service admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Door was an accident waiting to happen

The FBU member said: “The fire station’s door is antiquated and extremely heavy. It was always a struggle and an accident waiting to happen. The doors should really have been automated or at the very least it should be a two-man job to close it. I hope that what I have gone through will encourage the fire and rescue service to get something done about this door as soon as possible.

“I’m indebted to the FBU and Thompsons Solicitors for taking on my case. I could not have taken on the employers and got my wage loss back without them.”

Adrian Clarke from the FBU added: “Fire fighters need to be able to know that they can respond to an emergency quickly and efficiently without putting themselves or others in danger through simple maintenance or systems failures.

“This member should never have been put in a position where he was at risk of injury. It is fortunate that it was not more serious and it didn’t occur in the middle of an emergency scenario.”

Kam Singh at Thompsons Solicitors said: “Having doors fit for use should have been of the utmost priority for this station. Had this accident occurred during an emergency call-out not only would a fire fighter have been injured but the delay could have meant a greater injury for those waiting for the fire engine to arrive.”