A scaffolder who lost three limbs after a massive electric shock has revealed the horror for the first time – and told how his remaining leg will also be amputated.
Jamie Mines, 33, is back at home with his girlfriend Harley Mines, 25, and twin baby girls after six months fighting for his life in hospital – just in time for Father’s Day.
The talented footballer suffered devastating injuries after 33,000 volts of electricity jolted through a tin sheet he was holding while building a temporary shelter at work.
He was thrown back 13ft and landed on the half-finished metal roof, where he recalls feeling like his “whole body was on fire”, admitting: “I thought I was dead.”
Jamie spent 10 weeks in intensive care after the near-fatal shock on December 19 but miraculously pulled through after having his arms, right leg and left toes amputated.
Heartbreakingly, the former striker, who was previously dubbed a “goal machine”, has just been told his one remaining limb – his left leg – must also be removed in July.
He also told of the agony of missing his twins’ first Christmas, not seeing them learn to crawl or eat and knowing he may never be able to play football again.
But the brave new dad is overjoyed to be back home with his 11-month-old girls Savannah and Isabella and partner Harley Ware, 25 and said: “I’m lucky to be alive.”
Recalling the horror, Jamie, of Swindon, Wilts., said: “I was holding this metal sheet and then I just remember a massive surge suddenly burning my insides.
“I don’t know if I blacked out from the pain because the next thing I knew I was lying on my back four metres away.
“I was trying to stay still because I knew I could fall off the roof but the pain was a thousand times worse than anything I have felt before.
“I was screaming and shouting, telling the guys to call an ambulance. I knew exactly what had happened, I had been electrocuted – I was too close to the power.
“It felt like my heart and lungs were burning and then it was my legs and arms. My whole body was on fire, like there was 1,000 degree heat inside me, but there were no flames.
“I thought I was dead. I thought I was burned to a crisp.”
Paramedics climbed a ladder to treat the injured labourer before he was stretchered into an air ambulance and rushed to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
There, medics placed the former Boundary Scaffolding employee in an induced coma for three weeks and gave his family the devastating news that he could die.
In the three days after the shock surgeons amputated Jamie’s right leg, left forearm and half of his left foot, and 10 days later they removed his right arm.
Jamie said: “The last thing I remember was being wheeled across the bumpy track in the yard to the air ambulance before I was sedated.
“And then I woke up in hospital with no limbs.”
One of Jamie’s vocal cords was also burned and he suffered damage to his kidneys, leaving him urinating “thick black sludge” for weeks.
But he gradually regained strength and in March, moved to a rehab centre in Oxford where he began the painstaking process of relearning how to walk and talk.
He now needs help with everything from cleaning his teeth to changing the TV channel, and has an adapted Playstation controller and stylus for his phone.
The Health and Safety Executive is still investigating the incident at Kendrick Industrial Estate in Swindon, Wilts.
He said: “When I first truly realised what had happened, I didn’t see any future. I only had memories of the past, of playing tennis, cricket, golf, all sorts.
“I was a touchy feel-y person before. I was hands on, changing nappies and everything, then suddenly I couldn’t even open a bottle of drink any more.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold the twins again and I tried to hold Harley’s hand but I couldn’t feel anything. I didn’t know how I would cope.
“But my biggest fear was not knowing if the babies would remember me.
“When I saw them after three months, they had changed so much. I hardly recognised them – they were chubby and had all this hair.
“I was scared they wouldn’t recognise me because at first my voice was a husky, low whisper because one of my vocal cords was fried.
“But I got to hold them again and it was so emotional. They did know who I was. It was lovely.
“Now I’m back at home with them I see them learning things and there are similarities with what I’m going through, like when they stand up and wobble a little bit.
“I am having to relearn everything I ever learned all over again, like a baby – but it could have been a lot worse.”
On the day his life was “turned inside out”, Jamie woke up at 5.45am, did his hair, made a cup of coffee and told girlfriend of three years Harley: “See you later babe.”
But he didn’t come home for dinner that night, and when Harley learned what had happened from Jamie’s mum she spiralled into a dark place.
Speaking through tears, she said: “I packed a case straight away but the first time I visited Jamie was six weeks later.
“It was almost like it wasn’t real and seeing it would make it real. I was scared to go – I didn’t know what he was thinking, feeling, whether he knew about his injuries.
“Jamie’s mum updated me all the time, whenever something went wrong. It felt like every phone call was to tell me he was having another limb amputated.”
Harley’s friend moved in to help with food shopping and looking after the babies, who were just five months old at the time, and she barely left the house.
That Christmas, Harley spent the day at home alone with the girls, who were just five months old at the time.
She wrapped Jamie’s present – a Ralph Lauren coat he had asked for – and put it under the tree, not knowing if he would ever open it.
As the twins delved into their stockings and unwrapped their gifts on the special day she took hundreds of photos to show their dad, who remained in a coma.
While she struggled at home, Jamie’s friends launched a fundraising appeal which raised more than £142,000, with strangers around the world pledging support.
Sporting stars including England football legend Alan Shearer, boxer Joe Calzaghe and racing driver Jenson Button, and old school pal, also sent their best.
“I would start thinking about it and cry all through the day.”
After six weeks, Harley mustered up the courage to visit Jamie in hospital for the first time, and she later took the twins to visit.
She said: “When I saw him I started crying. He was covered in bandages. I kissed him on the head and took a photo because I didn’t know if I would ever see him again.
“The second time I went he was awake. He couldn’t talk very well. I didn’t know if he was going to be different, but he wasn’t.
“When I first took the girls to visit, Jamie’s eyes lit up. I put them on him but it was hard for him to hold them because his arms were cut so short.
“I was worried they would miss out on the bond with him. He was an an amazing dad – he always rocked them to sleep and would sing lullabies.
“I was thinking about what he wouldn’t be able to do with them, but now I feel much more positive about the future.
“It has been an emotional rollercoaster but it has definitely brought us closer together. It is amazing having him home.”
“I will never be able to do lots of things. I miss football – you can’t beat the feeling of scoring a goal.
“I even miss scaffolding and changing the babies’ nappies, but I try not to think about it because it’s the only way I can carry on and at the end of the day.
“I don’t feel like I will ever feel content missing their first Christmas, or not seeing them, but I I could have fried and become a vegetable. I feel blessed to be alive.
“Now my babies won’t grow up without a dad.”