Renee spent a year in compression garments as she recovered from the horror fire. Picture: 9 News Woman suffers severe burns from barbecue fireball
Renee spent a year in compression garments as she recovered from the horror fire. Picture: 9 News Woman suffers severe burns from barbecue fireball

Woman suffers horrific burns at kid’s birthday barbecue

WARNING: Graphic

A woman has revealed her horror burns after she was hit by a massive fireball at a barbecue when a guest poured fuel on the hot coals.

Renee Mendelson was engulfed by flames, which shot about seven metres and over the heads of babies, at a children's birthday party in Sydney.

Renee Mendelson, 35, was engulfed by flames, which shot about seven metres, at a children's birthday party in Sydney. Picture: 9 News
Renee Mendelson, 35, was engulfed by flames, which shot about seven metres, at a children's birthday party in Sydney. Picture: 9 News

The 35-year-old desperately dropped to the ground in an attempt to put out the fire but the grass caught alight and she was left rolling in an inferno.

Ms Mendelson said she had only been at the party at the Clontarf Reserve for 20 minutes and was talking to friend when she felt a "whack" on her back.

Someone had just poured accelerant on the hot coals when the fireball came bounding towards her.

Speaking about her ordeal for the first time since it happened two years ago, she told 9 News: "It was definitely the worst pain I have ever experienced."

She spent a year in compression garments as she recovered from the horror fire. Picture: 9 News
She spent a year in compression garments as she recovered from the horror fire. Picture: 9 News

It took her a few moments to realise what had happened before she dropped to the ground and began frantically rolling around.

She said: "Unfortunately it had also started a grass fire and I was rolling in the grassfire and the accelerant, so my leg and my lower back also caught fire."

Horrified onlookers came rushing over with buckets of ice but Ms Mendelson's friend who is a nurse quickly stopped them, warning them burns can only be treated with water.

She waited an agonising 20 minutes for paramedics to arrive and was taken to hospital, where doctors confirmed she had suffered burns to 25 per cent of her body.

The 35-year-old sufferer horrific burns to 25 per cent of her body. Picture: 9 News
The 35-year-old sufferer horrific burns to 25 per cent of her body. Picture: 9 News

Ms Mendelson spent several days in intensive care at Royal North Shore Hospital before being transferred to a severe burns unit.

She required multiple skin grafts and had to wear compression garments for 23 hours a day, for almost a year.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: "Barbecues are involved in many hundreds of accidents that occur in the garden each year.

"The number of accidents usually increases if we have a hot summer.

"Some of the accidents lead to very serious burns, usually as a result of using an accelerant such as petrol to light the fuel.

Their advice states: "Never pour petrol, meths or other accelerants on to a barbecue."

"Some of the most serious barbecue-related accidents happen when people do this and the barbecue 'explodes' in their face."

News Corp Australia


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