6:02am Wednesday 16th October 2013
A firefighter who was injured in the engine crash in Blaenavon earlier this year faces a two year recovery.
Watchman Paul Roberts, 51, was one of five firefighters injured after the fire engine they were travelling in overturned on Abergavenny Road, between Blaenavon and Govilon.
The crew, retained firefighters from Blaenavon, were responding to an emergency call when the accident happened on May 16.
Mr Roberts was airlifted by Wales Air Ambulance to the University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, before undergoing on operation to fit a pin in his broken femur.
Now, six months on Mr Roberts is undertaking the battle of learning to walk again.
He said: “It’s a waiting game and battling boredom as I can’t do a lot. But my ultimate goal is to go back to work as a fire fighter.”
Doctors have told the fire fighter who is approaching 30 years in service that his recovery could take up to two years.
After the accident, Mr Roberts remained in hospital for 13 days receiving treatment for a broken femur, broken sternum, broken ribs and a fractured vertebra.
He then had to wear a back brace and use crutches.
Speaking this week, Mr Roberts said: “The back brace is gone and up until three weeks ago I was still on crutches until I went to the fire fighter’s rehabilitation centre in Devon.
“I used the hydro pool, did cardiovascular work outs and learnt specific exercises, and I came back walking with the use of just a walking stick- it was brilliant.”
He is due to go back to the centre run by The Fire Fighters Charity in November for further treatment.
Exercises that he has to do at home are working on improving muscles in his legs as currently he can only walk small distances.
The Gwent Police investigation into the incident has now closed, and a South Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswomen confirmed that they are currently carrying out their own investigation.
After the crash, Mr Roberts had said that his helmet saved his life, as the cabin collapsed in, pressing on his headgear.
His torso was bent over the transmission box, his arm was trapped behind his head, the cabin was pressing on his head and shoulder, while the dashboard trapped his legs.
He had first became aware that the engine was leaving the road when he heard fence posts scraping against it, and when he looked up, he saw a tree coming towards him.
Ambulance crews began treating him at the scene, while fire crews worked to free him, before being air lifted to hospital.
He started as a fire fighter at the age of 24 and in 2008, he received a medal for maintaining high standards.
In July, fire crews raised nearly £500 for the Welsh Air Ambulance charity inspired by Mr Roberts’ story.
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