Barbecue burns survivor shares story to help warn others

Yvonne MorganFour years ago (May 26) the life of a Cheshire woman changed forever when a family barbecue went badly wrong, and she suffered horrific burns.

She has been left scarred by the incident but feels very lucky to be here today so now wants to help firefighters and warn other people to be extra careful.

Yvonne Morgan was sitting with family and friends enjoying a get together in a garden when the incident happened. She remembers that she was sitting in the corner of a patio, with an alleyway behind her, happily chatting away when she believes accelerant was used to get the barbecue started.

The mum of one daughter lives with her husband in Congleton and was sitting around 10 feet away from the actual barbecue when she heard a loud bang. She remembers looking up to see a fire ball heading towards her.

“It happened so quickly that I literally had time to just shut my eyes and I could instantly feel the intense heat all over my body.” Yvonne said.

The flames hit the 57-year-old, setting light to her clothes, yet missing everyone around her. A 999 call was made and firefighters from Congleton and ambulance staff attended to her before she was airlifted to Wythenshawe Hospital, where she spent 3-4 days intensive care.

She spent another four months in the hospital having treatment for the burns, which were second and third degree burns covering 30% of her body, including her face, arms, body and legs. Yvonne’s treatment continued when she came out of hospital as she needed her dressings changed every other day for several months. She’s also had skin grafts and a number of operations since that day.

Yvonne said: “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think the flames headed for me because I was sitting in front of the alleyway. I want people to understand that they don’t have to be near to a barbecue for it to be dangerous. I was sitting 10 feet away from this one.

I know people won’t stop cooking outside as the weather warms up, but please do it safely and especially make sure that everyone keeps well away when barbecue is being lit.”

Follow this barbecue safety advice to keep you, your family and friends safe:

  • Never leave the barbecue unattended

  • Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from a shed, trees or shrubs 

  • Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area

  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies

  • Never pour petrol, meths or other accelerants on to a barbecue 

  • Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it

Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Yvonne is an extremely brave lady and I would like to thank her for helping us to get the message out to others about the dangers surrounding barbecues. 

“By far the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue.   We do not advocate putting anything onto the charcoal in an effort to get it going. The reaction in Yvonne’s case has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous, so please prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early.”

For more information visit barbecue safety

Date published: Tue, 08 May 2018 12:24:30 GMT

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Yvonne Morgan