A British woman has released shocking images of the horrific burns she suffered when she celebrated her 28th birthday in a pub – when a portable heater exploded after a drunk member of her group allegedly poured ethanol into it.
April Charlesworth and her nurse cousin Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, were both rushed to hospitals and placed in fans after the explosion Saturday night in the garden of King’s Head in Great Cornard, Suffolk, the South West News Service reported.
“A certain person who was part of the group I was with thought it was fun to keep filling up the heater with ethanol,” April said, The Sun reported.
“He was a little drunk and we kept asking him not to do it,”
April added: “The only thing I remember was that my face was just on fire.”
Ironically, what may have saved her life was actually alcohol.
“I got someone to stick a bottle of wine over me, and then I was taken to the toilet and had water sprayed over me,” the mother told SWNS.
April was rushed to Bury St. Edmunds Hospital, before being transferred to London’s Queen Victoria Hospital, where she said she had suffered panic attacks from the brush with death.
“At first I did not remember anything, but I have had flashbacks. I just remember that Ashleigh and I were on fire, ”said April, who woke up four days later with severe burns to his neck, hands and face.
She said it would be a “long journey” to recovery, the Sun reported, adding: “It’s my chest and my face that are worst. My whole head is still tied. Both my hands are still bandaged, except for one. by fingers.
“I’ve got skin donor skin on my face and chest, which I’m told works well,” she added.
“I did not talk to the guy who continued to pour ethanol into the heater. I have not even had a text or anything to apologize for, ”said April, a support staff member for Your Life Care Solutions, a UK home health care provider. “He was able to leave the hospital after only 36 hours, while I am still here 12 days later.
She told SWNS she is in constant pain, adding that “some days are harder and other days are better than others.”
“I have had panic attacks since it happened. I do not remember sleeping and I was very confused when I woke up, ”said April. “I have had my mother here every day. I would not have gone through it without her. ”
She said she has not seen her 7-year-old son, Franklin Avery, since the injury. “I do not want him to see me at the moment,” she said.
Ashleigh remains at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, where she spent two days in a ventilator and received skin grafts from her legs to treat the burns on her hands, SWNS reported.
Her father, Paul Charlesworth, 55, said she was left in pain and that “doctors are trying hard not to do anything to her face as they hope the skin can heal itself.”
“She has to wear a special mask on her face, as these types of burns can wear on damaging skin for several days,” he told Sun.
“She is in extreme pain and needs to have her skin chemically cleansed,” he said. “What has happened has only sunk in for Ashleigh in the last few days. It’s so unfortunate as she’s such a hero who does so much for the NHS. ”
His daughter has worked as a nurse throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has also administered vaccines, The Sun reported.
Witnesses reportedly said customers brought the gas-fired space heater into the pub’s garden to keep warm before it exploded into a fireball.
The pub’s Sarah Bond said on a shared Facebook page: “The heater was not supplied by the pub, but was brought to the place without our knowledge.
“Currently, we have three of our customers with serious injuries that could potentially change lives,” she wrote.
“Our focus is on supporting the investigation that is taking place while keeping them and their families at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Bond added.
A spokesman for the Suffolk police told Sun that no arrests had been made but that a man had been interviewed in connection with the incident.
“Inquiries are ongoing regarding the circumstances,” he said.
An update on the GoFundMe page in April said she was “improving well”.
“Day to day is extremely up and down with mixed feelings of anxiety, sadness and full of worry,” it said. “After a long, hard emotional week of being bedridden, April managed to get out of bed and take a few steps around the hospital corridor and was able to feed herself breakfast for the first time this morning.”
Ashleigh’s GoFundMe page, meanwhile, said she “has a long way to go in terms of her recovery both physically and mentally.”