Mum's warning after freak accident almost takes daughter's life
A mother has spoken out about the dangers of table-top gas burners after she and her five-year-old daughter suffered third-degree burns in a freak accident at a birthday party.
Kate and her daughter Eva Collins were among a group of people at their friend’s home in Perth on April 27 when the host of the party went to refill a decorative gas burner sitting on the table.
The liquid ethanol exploded into a fireball, engulfing the pair, who were sitting directly opposite.
“The first thing I remember we were just sitting there chatting and the fireball came out, my clothes and hair were on fire,” Mrs Collins told nine.com.au.
“I ran into the house. I dropped and rolled because that is what you are taught as a child.
“But, because it was liquid flame, it wouldn’t go out, it just kept on reigniting. It was scary so I stripped my clothes off and was just patting at my hair trying to get the flames out,” she said.
“Eventually they went out and I heard someone say that my daughter had been burned.
“Obviously then my only thought was for her so I ran outside. Someone had a hose running and a bucket and a scoop and I just kept ladling water onto her until the paramedics arrived. Then I passed out, everything is pretty hazy after that.”
Mrs Collins was rushed to the Fiona Stanley Hospital and Eva to the Perth Children’s Hospital.
The host of the party who had been refilling the burner and another woman were also injured.
Eva suffered burns to 20 percent of her body, including extensive third-degree burns down her left arm and torso.
Mrs Collins has similarly severe burns to her legs arms and hands.
Five days after the accident, the Collins family had another scare when an infection got into Eva’s bloodstream and turned septic.
“We almost lost her,” Mrs Collins said.
“The nurse pressed the emergency button and I think they had a team of 10 people in there with her in seconds.”
Eva was treated with intravenous antibiotics and to the family’s relief, her condition stabilised.
Mrs Collins said her daughter had been extraordinarily lucky to be cared for by the world-renowned burns specialists in Perth, including Fiona Wood.
“We have had the best burns team possible with Fiona Wood working on Eva and actually being responsible for her care. I just don’t think we could get any better. We are so lucky we live in Perth.
“Fiona Wood is incredible. Both of us have been treated with her spray on skin that she patented and it’s just been an incredible process.”
Mrs Collins was discharged today. Eva is expected to stay in hospital for a few more weeks.
Mrs Collins said her friend who owned the gas burner was in no way to blame for the accident.
“Obviously, she feels absolutely awful because she was the one refilling it when it exploded. But we place zero blame on her, she thought (the burners) were all out and it was cool.”
The sale of decorative ethanol burners was banned by the Federal Government in 2017 following reports of more than 100 fire-related injuries since 2010.
Ms Collins said she wanted to warn others about the dangers of the burners and was moved to post a warning on social media to the thousands of follows on her business page Nature Bubz.
“There are so many people who have commented on the post that they still had them, but have now thrown them out.”
“If we stop this happening to even one more family it will have been worth it,” Mrs Collins said.
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at [email protected]
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