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Hard going...Gorton St house owner Warren Munday, who was seriously burned in 2018 when the house caught fire, mows the lawns that have become overgrown since he was forced to leave. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

It is a long road to recovery for a man who suffered serious burns in a Gore house fire in July 2018.

Gorton St house owner Warren Munday came home from a trip to the supermarket and found his house on fire.

He quickly unlocked the house to let his dogs out and entered to rescue an older dog which had just had surgery.

However, he was beaten back by the fire and in the process suffered second- and third-degree burns.

He spent about three months in Christchurch and Southland hospitals before returning to a property he owned in Clinton.

Mr Munday said he spent between three and four hours a day working on his hands, exercising them and moisturising them.

“I’m just trying to heal at the moment,” Mr Munday said.

At this point he had 50% movement in his left hand and 30% in the right.

“My hands are jolly hopeless but they are improving.

“If I can get 50% in one hand working and 60 to 70% in the other working I’d be happy.”

His hands were very painful.

“It’s all horrible, to be honest.”

His hands were still swollen and he wore compression gloves at night to help reduce the swelling.

“You take some painkillers first, wait until they work, make your hands all slippery [with moisturiser] and then squeeze the gloves on.”

He was waiting for surgery to remove either part or all of his little finger on his right hand.

“It’s not going to come right.”

Scar tissue on his hands would also be removed.

“Scarring makes it very tight.”

Surgery would not happen until his hands had finished healing.

“The [healing] process is slowing down.

“Soon I’m going to be left with big, lumpy scarred-up hands.”

He had returned once to the Gorton St house to mow the lawns which had become overgrown.

“It used to be all lovely.

“There wasn’t even a prickle in the grass because I dug every single prickle out with a knife so I wouldn’t get them in my bare feet.”

Mowing the lawns was difficult for him, but even everyday tasks were a challenge.

“I’m not sitting around sulking but I’m just limited what I can do.”

He planned to empty the Gorton St house of its contents and then demolish it. He had cancelled his insurance two months before the fire as he had been unable to afford it.

“I’m trying to get help with pulling the house down.”

Gore was a great place to live and he would like to return to the town one day.

“I love Gore.”