Amateur motorcycle mechanic burns family home down

After the fire Peter Biggs commented: “My wife was never a lover of my bike anyway so that was terrible.”

Motorcycle fire, Cliffe, Kent

WE ALL HAVE those ‘oh shit’ moments as we tinker with our toys; the dropped needle jet as you clean a carb, or the resulting chaos from attempting to adjust your own brakes…

But one poor sod has had possibly the biggest ‘oh shit’ moment of all time.

Peter Biggs, from Cliffe, Kent, was working on his motorcycle in his garage, when the petrol he was in the process of draining 'spontaneously combusted'.

Speaking to Kent Online, the sheet metal worker explained: “I had been working on my bike and I thought it would be a good idea to drain the petrol tank.

"I had done it before and it’s not that difficult - I even had the garage door open for ventilation, but it obviously wasn’t good enough.

“It was all going tickety-boo but then there was a huge flash and a bang.

“It made me jump and that’s when I dropped the petrol tank and everything just went up.

“There were explosions that sounded like gun fire - it was the tyres exploding.

“It was so fast and vicious, I couldn’t believe it. You don’t realise how quick it all happens.”

In a panic, Biggs ran inside the house to get some water in an attempt to put out the fire – an ineffective solution. As he threw the water on to the flames he suffered burns to his left hand and forehead.

The 59-year-old was then faced with likely the most difficult phone call that he has ever had to make: telling his wife, who was out shopping with their children.

Biggs added: “When I called Louise to let her know what had happened, she was hysterical.

"She was never a lover of my bike anyway so that was terrible.”

Six fire engines attended the fire, on Saturday, January 26, where they worked for two hours to put out the flames. Three people were treated for injuries.

After the fire Biggs said that he feels like he has lost everything.

“Saturday marked our 12th anniversary in that house and we had just finished doing it up. Everything we had was new and now it’s all gone.

“It’s horrendous. My bike was my hobby, I’ve lost everything and more importantly we have lost our home.

“It could have been so much worse if it wasn’t for my son-in-law, Jet, and my neighbours, Matthew and Neil. They climbed over the back gate and managed to get my two little dogs out and shut the kitchen door, which stopped the fire from spreading through the downstairs of the house. They turned the gas off as well and got my next door neighbour out of her garden. I can’t thank them enough for their help, it was unbelievable.”

He thanked the rescue teams and the local community, adding: “The firefighters were great. As a team of them were putting the fire out another group of them were covering up my furniture to try to protect it as much as they could.

“And the community spirit is amazing. Thank you to everyone who has helped us. It has been an awful experience but I know Louise and I will bounce back soon enough.”

Neighbours have set up a crowdfunding page for the family, which has so far reached £960 of its £600 goal.