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Girl, 4, ‘engulfed in flames’ after garden heater exploded leaving her severely burned

Girl, 4, ‘engulfed in flames’ after garden heater exploded leaving her severely burned

Tay Boddington had been at a family BBQ when the garden heater she was sitting next to suddenly exploded

The parents of a little girl who was ‘engulfed in flames’ after a garden heater exploded have shared a stark warning to others about greater fire safety awareness, saying they are still ‘trying to process this traumatic event’.

Tay Boddington, four, had been sitting by a garden heater, run by bioethanol, at a family gathering on 12 May when it suddenly exploded after being lit.

Mum Charlotte Woodman, 36, said her daughter was a ‘ball of flames’ after being set on fire, as she tried desperately to ‘pat her down’.

Tay’s dad Alan Boddington, 56, rushed to place her body under running water in the bath, before she was taken to Northampton General Hospital.

Tay was then transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she is currently receiving ‘superb’ care at the Burns Centre, having undergone several skin grafts using skin from her scalp.

Little Tay has undergone several skin grafts. (PA Real Life)
Little Tay has undergone several skin grafts. (PA Real Life)

Family friend Carly Chaplin has now set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the little girl’s ‘road to recovery’, having already raised more than £7,000.

In a statement issued via Carly, Charlotte and Alan said they would also be donating money to the Burns Centre where Tay is receiving treatment, thanking the team for everything they’ve done for her.

“Our main focus at the moment is getting Tay healthy, healed, and happy again,” they said.

“It will then be trying to process this traumatic event as a family and to move forward navigating the challenges Tay may have ahead.

“We are overwhelmed with the kindness from people that have donated, and we cannot thank everyone enough.

“Our next step when Tay is feeling better will be to host a community event whereby we can raise awareness and educate families within our community about burns, immediate first aid that is required when someone is burned, and to also run workshops for children and adults highlighting the risks and dangers associated with barbecues and fires."

She was at a family BBQ when the garden heater exploded. (PA Real Life)
She was at a family BBQ when the garden heater exploded. (PA Real Life)

As her parents are still coming to terms with what happened, friend Carly has spoken out on their behalf, acting as their ‘voice’ in an interview with PA Real Life.

“They were having a family barbecue… and what we think happened is the heat has compressed, (someone) has gone to light the heater, and it has just gone bang,” she said.

“She was pretty much in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“She was on fire; she was a ball of flames – that’s how Charlotte has described it.

“She is lucky to even be here.”

Carly said Tay is ‘badly burned from her bottom lip down, her arms and legs’, and is having another surgery next week.

“She’s lost nerve endings as well, and obviously her eyelashes and eyebrows have gone, but she’s still beautiful and she’s rocking it,” she added.

According to the NHS, the initial first aid steps to treat a burn include immediately getting the person away from the heat source to stop the burning, removing any clothing or jewellery that is near the burned area of skin - apart from anything that is stuck to the skin - and cooling the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tay with mum Charlotte. (PA Real Life)
Tay with mum Charlotte. (PA Real Life)

With barbecues becoming more popular as summer creeps in, Carly, Charlotte and Alan want others to be aware of the potential dangers and to take fire safety seriously.

They are hoping to use some of the money raised to buy fire blankets for families at School House Daycare and the local community, and to give funds to the Burns Centre.

“They want to plough all the money back into the community and the burns unit,” Carly explained.

“This has been devastating and horrendous for them, but with the fundraiser, we’re hoping something positive can come from it.

“Our main message is prevention is better than cure.”

To find out more or to donate, visit the fundraiser here.

For advice on barbecue safety, visit Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website.

Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life

Topics: Health, UK News, Real Life