Woman who suffered burns in heater explosion is afraid to go outside

‘I feel like everyone is out to get me’: Mother-of-one, 28, who suffered horrific burns in pub heater explosion more than a year ago tells how ordeal has left her with crippling anxiety and she is afraid to leave the house

  • April Charlesworth suffered burns after a portable heater exploded at a pub
  • She was in a coma for four days after a drunk man added ethanol to the heater
  • The mother-of-one said she now struggles to leave her house due to her anxiety
  • The 28-year-old also has to wear compression garments for 23 hours per day

A mother-of-one who suffered severe third degree burns after a portable heater exploded at a pub has shared how her anxiety means she is unable to go outside by herself.

More than a year on from the horrific incident, April Charlesworth, 28, has been working hard on her recovery but admits she feels like people are out to get her when she leaves her home.

April, from Colchester, had been at a Suffolk pub with her friends in April 2021 when one poured ethanol on a table heater to make it spark.

When the friend did it a second time, an alcoholic bottle near the heater caught on fire and exploded burning April and her cousin.

April was rushed to the hospital after the incident and put under an induced coma for four days.

She has third-degree burns on seven per cent of her body, including her face, chest and hands and spent four weeks in bandages in the hospital after the incident. 

As part of her recovery April has to wear compression garments on her face for 23 hours per day.

April Charlesworth, 28, suffered life-changing burns in 2021 after a portable heater exploded but has recovered very well (pictured in 2022)

The mother-of-one has to wear compression garments (pictured) on her face for 23 hours per day

The videographer had to be wrapped up in bandages and spent four days in a coma after the explosion

April (before the incident) said she used to be a ‘party girl’ but now struggles to go outside

April has to have a compression mask altered every two months as the swelling and scars on her face change 

April spent four weeks in the hospital to treat her horrific third degree burns

April also has laser surgery (post session pictured)  every six weeks to reduce the visibility of her scars

April, who works as a videographer, has developed social anxiety after her incident and feels afraid to be out of her house.

‘Before the incident, I was happy to go out all the time, I was a bit of a party girl,’ she said.

‘Now I can’t think of anything worse, I don’t like going out I’d rather just sit at home with my little boy.

‘I’m just more anxious about everything and I’ve get really bad paranoia.

‘I can’t go out by myself, and I feel like everyone I see on the street is out to get me.

‘I know that’s not true, and what happened was a freak occurrence, but I can’t stop the anxiousness.

‘I get anxious even when my son goes to school these days, I can’t control it.’ 

April was put under an induced coma for four days after the heater exploded

April’s face was heavily bandaged after the accident to treat her third degree burns

An image taken from April’s time in hospital shows how much progress she has made in less than two years

April (above) was rushed to Bury St Edmunds Hospital, before being taken to Queen Victoria Hospital, London for urgent treatment

She recounted the incident from April 2021 and explained how it unfolded, she said: ‘I was at the pub with my friends when someone poured ethanol over a table heater.

‘The fire suddenly jumped up and consumed me and another friend sitting right next to me.

‘I remember after the incident I was really confused as to what was going on, my shirt was burnt up so I was walking around the pub topless.

‘I did not realise the extent of my injuries I refused to go to the hospital I just wanted to go home and see my son.

‘However, my friends called an ambulance and I was taken to the hospital where they put me under an induced coma for four days.

‘I was admitted to the burns ward for two months and am now in the recovery process.

‘I felt suffocated and isolated more because I missed my son, when he first saw me he couldn’t look at me or wouldn’t come near me because he was scared of what I looked like all bandaged up.’

April was celebrating her 28th birthday with family and friends at The Kings Head, Great Cornard before the pub heater blast changed her life forever

The King’s Head pub confirmed the heater was ‘brought onto the premises without their knowledge’ before it exploded injuring three customers including April Charlesworth

April’s cousin and children’s nurse Ashleigh Charlesworth (pictured) was also left with potentially life-changing injuries after the portable heater exploded

April now has to wear compression garments on her face and chest 23 hours a day and have laser surgery every six weeks for her scars.

‘I have to wear compression garments twenty-three hours a day, they are exceedingly uncomfortable,’ she said.

‘They scratch and itch and I can barely breathe in them but the swelling and redness on my chest have already gone down and they are exceedingly helpful.

‘I have a plastic mask I wear on my face with holes in the eye, nose and mouth.

‘I also sleep with the compression mask on, it was exceedingly uncomfortable and suffocating, to begin with. I could barely breathe and only got two-three hours of sleep some nights.

‘I have to have the mask altered every two months as the swelling and scars on my face change and it stops fitting right.’

April has shared her entire burn survivor journey and the after-effects of her trauma on Instagram.

‘I have found a great community of people on Instagram while sharing my journey,’ she said.

‘I’ll get like random messages with a message saying how amazing I am and people find me on Tik Tok and say you’re incredible and stuff like that.

‘I’ve had loads of survivors messaging me and just saying like thank you for sharing your story.

‘And it’s helped them be able to share stuff with other people as well.

‘It’s helped me get through it like, and loads of people say how much it’s helped them knowing that I’m able to share my journey.

‘Because I shared the good and the bad, and nothing I have shared is not fake.

‘I don’t want people to think it’s all happy like you will get better because there are days where you just don’t feel like that at all.’

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