'Hotel blast left me scarred physically and mentally – now I want my boss to pay'
THE barmaid who survived an explosion that blew apart a rural hotel launched a claim for damages yesterday against its millionaire owner and a gas contracting company.
Danielle Ormond, 26, was buried beneath a pile of rubble when a suspected gas blast ripped through the Drumtochty Arms Hotel, in Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire, on 7 January.
She suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, chest injuries and broken vertebrae in her back and neck.
Yesterday, she told how she had been left traumatised and suffering constant nightmares about her ordeal, as it was revealed she was seeking a six-figure settlement for the physical and psychological injuries she suffered in the explosion.
Miss Ormond, 26, was one of three people seriously injured in the blast.
"It is an absolute nightmare and I'm so angry and frustrated," she said. "I keep getting flashbacks and seeing myself lying under the rubble, choking from the dust and in terrible pain."
She went on: "I still feel lucky to be alive. The nightmares don't help. Sometimes you wake up and you have to, like, realise that you are still alive.
"And sometimes you will wake up in the morning and there is that moment where you feel like you are OK and then your back hurts and you will remember what happened to you. And it's a constant thing, every single morning.
"Apart from all the pain and discomfort, I feel I am losing a whole chunk of life because I can't do a single thing.
The back pain is constant. My facial injuries have healed quite well, but I do have lot of scarring and I do get a lot of pain from it.
"My ribs have healed, but the ones round my chest are so badly out of line you can see them through my clothes.
"My back is probably the worst. I can't stand for any length of time or sit without my back being supported."
Chris Gordon, her solicitor, confirmed a Court of Session action for damages, running into six figures, was being planned against her former employer, Charles Anderson, the millionaire owner of the Drumtochty Arms, and the gas contracting company, Instant Catering Maintenance.
He said that, in addition to her injuries, Miss Ormond was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"A claim has been intimated, but the insurers have been slow to respond," he said. "We have intimated a claim for damages against the hotel owner and the gas contractor who was working on the premises at the time.
"Health-and-safety officials are investigating the cause of the explosion and, when we see their report, it may be clear who is ultimately responsible.
"But someone is clearly liable for the terrible injuries Miss Ormond suffered and the fact that, because of her back injury in particular, she may never be able to work as a barmaid again."
Mr Anderson, who spends most of his time in Canada where he has other business interests, could not be contacted for comment.
A spokeswoman for Instant Catering Maintenance said: "The incident is still under investigation, so we are not making any comment."
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