This week 30 years ago: ‘Human fireball’ in Barnsbury

Islington Gazette: September 5, 1986

Islington Gazette: September 5, 1986 - Credit: Archant

A business owner was transformed into a “human fireball” after a horrific explosion at his Barnsbury electrical company.

Eric Bartell was being treated in a burns unit after petrol from the car he was working on in Brooksby Mews ignited and backfired into his face and body.

Mr Bartell, 44, staggered into nearby garage Brooksby Spray Works. Quick thinking from mechanic Walter Robinson saved his life as he managed to put out the flames.

James Lovell, Mr Robinson’s business partner, said: “No one heard or saw the petrol go up.

“He stumbled into the yard, completely alight, but my partner quickly stepped in, made him lie on the floor and threw water over him.”