Bristol legend Big Jeff relives fire ordeal to raise awareness of simple mantra that saves lives

He’s still recovering from severe burns

Legendary Bristol gig-goer Big Jeff has relived a terrifying ordeal that saw him sustain severe burns while cooking at his home to raise awareness of a four-word mantra that could save lives - ‘stop, drop and roll’.

Jeffrey Johns aka Big Jeff was badly burned while cooking at his Totterdown home on June 6, leaving fans devastated.

The 39-year-old painter, well known for attending thousands of gigs across the city along with his artwork, has since been recovering in a specialist burns unit in Swansea.

Thankfully Jeff’s condition has greatly improved and this week he was transferred to Southmead Hospital.

He also released a video on his social media, thanking NHS staff and well-wishers for their support.

He said: “I’m still alive, I’m still kicking. The staff here have been doing a wonderful job.”

In a statement released this morning, art manager Lee Dodds revealed what happened to Jeff back in June.

She said: “Jeff went to see Amyl and the Sniffers at the O2 Academy Bristol.

“As usual after the gig, he returned home to cook himself something to eat.

“While he was cooking a simple meal, the bottom of his shirt caught alight on the gas hob.

“This resulted in a flash fire as the flames quickly spread on his clothing.”

Jeff’s neighbours heard his cry for help and alerted Avon Fire and Rescue, who were on the scene ‘within five minutes’.

Three fire engines and 14 crew members all played a role in keeping Jeff alive before the ambulace crew rushed him to hospital.

Sarah Hopper, lead firefighter on Blue Watch, was one of the first people on the scene and found Jeff inside the property.

Big Jeff before the fire at the opening of his debut artwork exhibition.

She described how, even though he was in a terrifying situation, Jeff was an ‘absolute legend’ throughout.

She said: “He stayed calm and listened to what we were telling him, which allowed us to do our job and give him the best treatment.”

Jeff and his family are now working with the Service to raise awareness of ‘stop, drop and roll’.

It is thought that if Jeff had known to do this during the fire, his injuries wouldn’t have been as severe.

“Stop, drop and roll is such a simple mantra and fire safety just isn’t spoken about enough,” Mss Dodds went on.

“If we can make a difference to one person’s life, then that would be an amazing result.”

She said that Jeff is now making amazing progress, and is able to walk with a frame and feed himself.

Ms Dodds added: “The fire team who rescued Jeff did an incredible job and we are so grateful to them and to the neighbours who called them. It most certainly saved Jeff’s life.

“As a result he is able to tell his story, to try and protect others. We want to reiterate that Jeff does not drink alcohol or take drugs, so this could happen to anyone at any time.”

49% of fires that Avon Fire & Rescue Service attended last year involve cooking, while 22% happen at mealtimes.

If your clothes catch fire, remember: STOP, DROP and ROLL.

If you see a fire or smoke: get out, stay out and call 999.