A WOMAN who sustained severe burns after a gas cylinder exploded at Camp Bestival is warning others about the potential dangers.
Georgina Chalmers required surgery for the 28 per cent burns which covered her body after the accident on August 1 last year, but said she nevertheless felt lucky to have survived.
The 27-year-old was running a trade stall at the popular Lulworth festival with her friends Felix and Jenny, and the three were making lunch with a cooking stove outside their tent when things started to go wrong.
“The gas cylinder I had didn’t have a safety valve, but because I had bought it from a shop I assumed it would be safe,” she said.
“I pierced the top and the gas started coming out, but I couldn’t get the clip to fit to stop it.
“It all happened very quickly, we were in a sort of calm panic. Then the gas started coming out really fast so we got up to run, but it was ignited by another stove nearby and exploded.”
The exploding cylinder, which was only 8cm in diameter, created a fireball which rose above the tents and left Ms Chalmers and her friends with burns.
The blaze was extinguished by the on-site firefighters, and she was air-lifted to Bristol Hospital for treatment. She was later transferred to Stoke Mandeville, nearer her home in Milton Keynes.
Now, she bears the physical scars and trauma from the accident, and feels unable to expose her skin on a hot day.
“The emergency services and all the people in the other tents were fantastic, and I am very lucky to be alive, had I been inhaling the gas when it caught fire it would have been a very different story,” she said.
“With the anniversary coming up, and people starting to go out and enjoy the hot weather and festivals I wanted to warn people to make sure they get a gas cylinder with a safety valve.
“Since I had my accident I have heard of lots of other occasions where the same thing has happened.
“It may cost a bit more to buy one with a safety valve, but you can’t put a price on life.”