A MAN accidentally set his girlfriend on fire while trying to light a barbecue with a dish full of petrol.
Chris Flintoff had been attempting to light the disposable barbecue at his grandparents house when the petrol caused flames to flash back engulfing his 19-year-old girlfriend.
She suffered 36 per cent burns to both of her legs and had to be airlifted to hospital.
An ambulance, rapid response paramedic and the Midlands Air Ambulance based in Staffordshire were called to the house in Walsall, West Midlands, at 2.45pm on Saturday.
She was treated at the scene by ambulance staff before being airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Ronald Poole, aged 68, said his grandson Chris Flintoff had been trying to light a disposable barbecue with petrol when the flames flared up and his girlfriend was caught in the blaze.
The grandfather-of-four said: “They bought a disposable barbecue and tried to light it but it kept going out.
“My grandson put some petrol in a dish and chucked it onto the barbecue but there was a flash back.
“His girlfriend’s legs caught fire. He tried to put the fire out with his hands but it didn’t work. They used damp cloths to put it out but it was too late by then.
“It’s terrible. I could cry for her. You don’t expect anything like that to happen but petrol is deadly. It was a freak accident. She’s a lovely girl. She studies law at Sheffield University. I only wish the best for her.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Steve Parry, said: “It appears that a 19-year-old woman received serious burns to both legs after attempts to light a barbecue resulted in a flash back.
“Ambulance crews treated the woman at the scene for approximately 36 per cent burns before she was taken by land ambulance to the nearby fire station, where she was transferred to the air ambulance and airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for further treatment and assessment.”
West Midlands Fire Service has issued a warning to anyone using barbecues following this incident.
Fire service spokesman Bill Gough said people should never use petrol, paraffin or any other highly flammable liquid on their barbecues.
He said: “It is a very violent reaction when it occurs. It is almost explosive when people use petrol.”
Firefighters issued warnings to people to take care when using a barbecue this weekend.
Families are advised to keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby – and to never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive a barbecue.