A woman engulfed in flames for five minutes in a freak accident has spoken of her horror ahead of Bonfire Night.
Louise Chadwick suffered 13 severe burns on her shins, thighs, legs, feet, arms, hands and lower torso after starting a bonfire in her garden.
It took over a year for her burns to heal, but the scars she has will stay with her forever, both physically and mentally.
Shortly after the accident Louise was diagnosed with PTSD, which can be triggered by everyday activities including filling the car up with petrol.
The horror fire while she was refurbishing her daughter’s bedroom with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, and the two ripped out a wardrobe which later needed disposing of.
They decided the best way was to burn it in the back garden using petrol to get the fire going.
Louise, 39, and partner Carl Dover, 43, had used this method to dispose of old furniture and other waste several times before – but this time he was away with work.
So, with the help of Jamie as some extra muscle, they moved the wardrobe into the garden and set it alight.
But when Louise went to pour the petrol over the furniture, she didn’t know that Jamie had already got the fire going – and the entire wardrobe burst into flames.
The petrol can Louise was holding immediately caught fire and she dropped it on the floor, spilling it all over the grass.
Louise then slipped in the puddle of fluid and fell flat on her back, covering herself in petrol as she fell.
In a split second, her entire lower body was engulfed in flames and the burning petrol that drenched her clothes was slowly starting to creep up her body.
Louise, from Radcliffe, Manchester, said: “At first I was in complete shock.
“Everything happened so fast from the moment I poured the petrol to the horror that came afterwards.
“My arms went up first, but things really got serious when I slipped and drenched myself in petrol fluid.
“That’s when my pajama bottoms set alight and the flames started to rise up towards my torso.
“I could feel the heat quickly nearing my face, but I couldn’t get my trousers off because I was wearing my partners slippers.
“Jamie was trying to help me get them off but he was in complete shock at what was happening.
“It felt like I was burning for a lifetime, and I genuinely thought this is how my life is going to end.”
After five minutes of unimaginable pain, with the help of her youngest daughter Georgia Mulbey, 19, Louise finally managed to put herself out.
Georgia, who was upstairs at the time, came rushing down to the sound of Louise’s screams, and filled up several jugs of water to frantically throw over her mother.
Eventually, Louise’s clothes were wet enough to extinguish the flames and she was able to briefly escape the torture she’d just endured.
However, the aftermath of the accident proved equally horrific as Louise suddenly realised the severity of her burns.
The mum of two suffered third degree burns all over her lower body and arms leaving her in need of a skin graft.
She was airlifted to hospital as a result of her injuries and spent the next two weeks in intensive care.
She also has an extreme phobia of any kind of open flame – making fireworks and bonfire night a terrifying occasion.
“Every day that goes by I still think about what happened,” Louise said.
“The scars on my body have healed as much as they ever will, but it’s my mental health that’s been damaged the most.
“The first time I went to fill my car up since the accident I started screaming in the middle of the petrol station – in that moment I felt so much fear.
“I’ve had countless nightmares where I’ve woken up thinking I was burning and my kids have had to come in and calm me down.
“Over the years, I have been terrified of bonfire night and fireworks, but I have a grandson now, and I don’t want to miss out on important parts of his childhood.
“This year, I’m going to face my fears head on surrounded by my family, and speaking out about my accident is definitely a way of helping me accept what’s happened.”
She said she wanted to speak out about fire safety to warn others about how easily things can go wrong and end in tragedy.
Louise pleaded with people to stay safe and not take risks as bonfire night arrives and celebrations begin.
“I want people to realise the dangers associated with bonfires and how quickly things can go wrong.
“I wouldn’t wish what happened to me upon my worst enemy and I hope everyone out there stays safe this bonfire night.”
In light of her accident, Louise has retrained as a hair and make-up artist, to help burn victims feel happy with their appearance.
She recently gained her industry qualifications with the help of her daughters, and can’t wait to see where her new career take her in the future.