A mother told how she was on fire for five minutes after a terrible campfire accident.
Louise Chadwick, 39, suffered terrible burns when she set fire to an old wardrobe.
While they were renovating their daughter’s bedroom with their daughter’s ex-boyfriend at the time, Jamie Lynch, then 17, they tore out the closet and decided to burn it in the garden.
But when Louise poured gasoline on the furniture, she didn’t realize that Jamie had already lit the fire – and the fire suddenly exploded.
The petrol can that Louise was holding caught fire immediately and she dropped it on the floor, sliding over spilled petrol.
In a split second, her entire lower body was engulfed in flames and the burning gasoline soaking her clothes slowly began to creep up her body.
Louise from Radcliffe, Manchester said: “At first I was completely shocked.
“It all happened so quickly, from the moment I poured the gasoline to the horror that followed.
“My arms went up at first, but it got really serious when I slipped and soaked myself in gasoline fluid.
“My leggings ignited and the flames rose to my upper body.
“I could feel the heat quickly approaching my face, but I couldn’t take my pants off because I was wearing my partner’s slippers.
“Jamie tried to help me take them off, but he was utterly shocked by what happened.
“It felt like I would burn for life and I really thought this was how my life would end.”
After five minutes of unimaginable pain, Louise, with the help of her youngest daughter, Georgia Mulvey, 19, finally got upset.
Georgia, who was upstairs at the time, hurried downstairs amid Louise’s screams and filled several jugs with water, desperately pouring them over her mother.
Eventually, Louise’s clothes were wet enough to put out the flames and she briefly escaped the torture she had just endured.
However, the aftermath of the accident proved just as dire when Louise suddenly realized the severity of her burns.
The mother of three suffered third degree burns all over her lower body and arms, requiring a skin graft.
Louise was flown to the hospital for her injuries and spent the next two weeks in intensive care.
In total, she suffered 13 severe burns on her shins, thighs, legs, feet, arms, hands and lower body.
It took her burns over a year to heal, but the scars she has will be with her forever – both physically and mentally.
Shortly after the accident in 2017, Louise was diagnosed with PTSD, which can be triggered by everyday activities such as refueling the car.
She also has an extreme phobia of all types of open fires – which makes fireworks and bonfire night a terrible event.
“Every day that goes by, I still think about what happened,” said Louise.
“The scars on my body have healed like never before, but my mental health is damaged the most.
“When I wanted to fill up my car for the first time since the accident, I started screaming in the middle of the gas station – at that moment I was so scared.
“I’ve had tons of nightmares where I woke up thinking I was going to burn and my kids had to come in and calm me down.
“Over the years I’ve been scared of campfires and fireworks, but I now have a grandson and I don’t want to miss important parts of his childhood.
“This year, I’m going to face my fears in the midst of my family and talking about my accident is definitely a way to help me accept what happened.
“I want people to understand the dangers of campfires and how quickly things can go wrong.
“I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy what happened to me, and I hope everyone out there stays safe on this bonfire night.
“I would also like to thank Jamie and Georgia for helping me when I needed it most – and I am so grateful for all of their support.”
In light of her accident, Louise retrained as a hair and make-up artist to help burn victims be satisfied with their appearance.
She recently earned her industry qualification with the help of her daughters and can’t wait to see where her new career will take her in the future.