Nurse, 27, suffers serious facial burns after portable heater explodes in pub

Nurse fighting for life after pub heater explodes SWNS|EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE
It is thought Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, was injured in the blast after someone was messing around with a portable heater (Picture: SWNS / East Anglia News Service)

A children’s nurse has been left with life-changing burns after a portable heater exploded in a pub garden.

Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, was seriously injured in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk.

She received burns to her face, chest and hands and two others – including Ashleigh’s cousin – were injured in the blast on April 24, which saw two air ambulances rush to the scene.

It is believed to have happened after a customer brought the heater to the pub themselves.

Ashleigh was taken to a specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, in Chelmsford, Essex, where she was placed on a ventilator for two days.

She has been given a skin graft on her hands, and is now wearing a special face mask to help heal the burns.

Ashleigh’s dad, Paul Charlesworth, said: ‘[The cousins] were badly burned and taken to hospital. Ashleigh was put on a ventilator for two days and needed operations on her hands.

‘The doctors are trying their hardest not to do anything to her face as they hope the skin can heal itself.

Ashleigh Charlesworth who was left fighting for her life after a portable heater exploded at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk. See SWNS copy SWCAnurse: A 'hero' nurse was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after a portable heater exploded in a pub beer garden. Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered severe burns to her face, chest and hands in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24. She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and was on a ventilator for two days.
Ashleigh was taken to a specialist burns unit where she was placed on a ventilator for two days (Picture: SWNS)
EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379 Police at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Suffolk, after two women and a man suffered serious burns when a camping stove exploded while being used as an unofficial heater in the pub garden EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379 With pics Two women and a man were taken to hospital when a camping stove exploded in a pub garden while apparently being used as a heater by customers. The gas-fuelled burner was alleged taken to the pub garden by drinkers to keep themselves warm and was being used without the permission of the landlady. Neighbours reported hearing screams as the stove exploded in a fireball at an outside table at the 16th century King???s Head pub in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Suffolk. All three victims who had been drinking at the pub and were aged in their early 20s are said to have suffered serious burns just before 10pm last night (Saturday). One woman is believed to have been flown to a specialist burns unit by an air ambulance after it landed at a local community centre which is currently being used as a rapid Covid testing site. The other woman and a man are thought to have been taken to hospital by road ambulance. Suffolk Police have not yet made any comment about their condition. It is not known if they were the same customers who had brought along the stove to use as an unofficial heater during the chilly evening. Police forensic officers were today carrying out an investigation in the pub garden which remained cordoned off with blue and white police tape. Officers were seen examining a pair of women???s coats which were dumped at the scene and appeared to burned. Ice buckets for drinks and several blankets being used by customers to keep themselves warm were also seen abandoned next to tables. IT consultant John Collings, 41, who lives next door said: ???I was watching a film when I heard a woman screaming loudly at around 10pm before hearing ambulances and police arrive. ???Before that there was just the general pub noise of people enjoying themselves in the garden. There had earlier been live music playing between around 5pm and 7pm ???I went out at about 11.30pm and saw blue lights were still flashing and spotlights had been set up by police. ???There were people hanging around and the police were telling them to move on. I also saw a helicopter with a searchlight. It was flying around doing a couple of sweeps of the area. ???The pub has been very busy since it reopened after lockdown, particularly on Friday and Saturday night.??? The manager of the pub said: ???I don???t want to say much. We are obviously concerned for the people who were injured. ???But the stove that exploded was something that someone had brought in. We did not know anything about it.??? King???s Head landlady Sarah Bond said in a statement on the pub???s Facebook page: ???We're closed today following an incident last night. ???We're working closely with the police and authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are will those injured.??? A Suffolk Police statement said: ???Emergency services attended reports of a fire at the Kings Head in Great Cornard at 21:58 on Saturday April 24. ???It is believed the fire was the result of an explosion involving a small camping stove. Three people have been taken to hospital to be treated for injuries and a scene remains in place.??? Anyone with any information relating to the incident should contact Suffolk police on 101 quoting reference 398 of 24/04/2021. ends
Police at the scene after the explosion on April 24 (Picture: East Anglia News Service)

‘She’s having to wear a special mask on her face still as these types of burns can carry on damaging skin for days.’

Ashleigh, previously a paediatric nurse at Colchester Hospital in Essex before moving to Virgin Care, was on a night out with her cousin at the time.

She has also helped deliver coronavirus vaccinations.

The heater had an open flame, and it is thought the blast happened when someone sprayed ethanol fuel onto the heater as a prank, and the bottle exploded.

‘I believe that the injuries were due to the actions of one drunken person,’ said Paul, who is 55.

‘Someone brought a heater to the pub but it exploded and Ashleigh and her cousin got sprayed in the face.’

EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379 Police at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Suffolk, after two women and a man suffered serious burns when a camping stove exploded while being used as an unofficial heater in the pub garden EAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel. 07767 413379 With pics Two women and a man were taken to hospital when a camping stove exploded in a pub garden while apparently being used as a heater by customers. The gas-fuelled burner was alleged taken to the pub garden by drinkers to keep themselves warm and was being used without the permission of the landlady. Neighbours reported hearing screams as the stove exploded in a fireball at an outside table at the 16th century King???s Head pub in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Suffolk. All three victims who had been drinking at the pub and were aged in their early 20s are said to have suffered serious burns just before 10pm last night (Saturday). One woman is believed to have been flown to a specialist burns unit by an air ambulance after it landed at a local community centre which is currently being used as a rapid Covid testing site. The other woman and a man are thought to have been taken to hospital by road ambulance. Suffolk Police have not yet made any comment about their condition. It is not known if they were the same customers who had brought along the stove to use as an unofficial heater during the chilly evening. Police forensic officers were today carrying out an investigation in the pub garden which remained cordoned off with blue and white police tape. Officers were seen examining a pair of women???s coats which were dumped at the scene and appeared to burned. Ice buckets for drinks and several blankets being used by customers to keep themselves warm were also seen abandoned next to tables. IT consultant John Collings, 41, who lives next door said: ???I was watching a film when I heard a woman screaming loudly at around 10pm before hearing ambulances and police arrive. ???Before that there was just the general pub noise of people enjoying themselves in the garden. There had earlier been live music playing between around 5pm and 7pm ???I went out at about 11.30pm and saw blue lights were still flashing and spotlights had been set up by police. ???There were people hanging around and the police were telling them to move on. I also saw a helicopter with a searchlight. It was flying around doing a couple of sweeps of the area. ???The pub has been very busy since it reopened after lockdown, particularly on Friday and Saturday night.??? The manager of the pub said: ???I don???t want to say much. We are obviously concerned for the people who were injured. ???But the stove that exploded was something that someone had brought in. We did not know anything about it.??? King???s Head landlady Sarah Bond said in a statement on the pub???s Facebook page: ???We're closed today following an incident last night. ???We're working closely with the police and authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are will those injured.??? A Suffolk Police statement said: ???Emergency services attended reports of a fire at the Kings Head in Great Cornard at 21:58 on Saturday April 24. ???It is believed the fire was the result of an explosion involving a small camping stove. Three people have been taken to hospital to be treated for injuries and a scene remains in place.??? Anyone with any information relating to the incident should contact Suffolk police on 101 quoting reference 398 of 24/04/2021. ends
The blast is believed to have happened after a customer brought the heater to the pub themselves (Picture: East Anglia News Service)
Ashleigh Charlesworth who was left fighting for her life after a portable heater exploded at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk. See SWNS copy SWCAnurse: A 'hero' nurse was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after a portable heater exploded in a pub beer garden. Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered severe burns to her face, chest and hands in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24. She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and was on a ventilator for two days.
Ashleigh has been given a skin graft on her hands, and is now wearing a special face mask to help heal the burns (Picture: SWNS)

The Colchester resident said it is too early to tell what degree burns Ashleigh has suffered.

He said: ‘She is in extreme pain and needs to have her skin chemically cleaned. What’s happened has only sunk in for Ashleigh over the last couple of days.

‘It’s so unfortunate as she is such a hero who does so much for the NHS.’ 

Stacey, Ashleigh’s sister, added: ‘She has quite deep burns along the left side of her face and around her left ear. It’s quite shocking – it’s not just a little scald.

‘She has had skin grafts on both her hands, which they have taken off her legs – so that’s another wound she has to deal with.

‘We haven’t really had a chance to have a look at her injuries yet because they’ve been bandaged up pretty much the whole time to help avoid infection..’

Stacey said her sister did not realise what had happened until after the heater had exploded.

Ashleigh Charlesworth who was left fighting for her life after a portable heater exploded at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk. See SWNS copy SWCAnurse: A 'hero' nurse was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after a portable heater exploded in a pub beer garden. Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered severe burns to her face, chest and hands in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24. She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and was on a ventilator for two days.
It is too early to tell what degree burns Ashleigh has suffered (Picture: SWNS)
The Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk. See SWNS copy SWCAnurse: A 'hero' nurse was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after a portable heater exploded in a pub beer garden. Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered severe burns to her face, chest and hands in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24. She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and was on a ventilator for two days.
Suffolk Police is now investigating to work out exactly what happened (Picture: SWNS)

‘Because Ashleigh was sat side-on to where the heater was, she didn’t actually see what happened until it was too late,’ she explained.

Suffolk Police is investigating the circumstances leading up to the blast.

The Kings Head pub posted on Facebook that it was ‘limited’ in what it could say due to the investigation.

‘We can however confirm that the heating appliance was not one supplied by the pub, but was brought onto the premises without our knowledge,’ it added.

‘Our focus is on supporting the enquiry that is taking place while keeping them, and their families, at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.’

The Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk. See SWNS copy SWCAnurse: A 'hero' nurse was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after a portable heater exploded in a pub beer garden. Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered severe burns to her face, chest and hands in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24. She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and was on a ventilator for two days.
The explosion happened at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk (Picture: SWNS)
The Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk. See SWNS copy SWCAnurse: A 'hero' nurse was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after a portable heater exploded in a pub beer garden. Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered severe burns to her face, chest and hands in the explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk, on April 24. She was rushed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and was on a ventilator for two days.
The pub owners posted on Facebook that they were ‘limited’ in what it could say due to the investigation (Picture: SWNS)

A police statement said: ‘Officers were called shortly before 10pm on Saturday, April 24, following reports of an explosion in the outside area at the Kings Head pub in Bures Road.

‘It is believed the fire was caused by a small portable fuel heater.

‘Emergency services attended including the fire service and ambulance service, and three people were taken to hospital for treatment.’

A man in his 20s who was burned has now left hospital. Ashleigh’s cousin, 27, is being treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead which specialises in burns and reconstructive surgery.

A Suffolk Police spokesperson added yesterday: ‘The two females remain in hospital receiving treatment for their injuries. Their condition is described as stable and their injuries are life-changing.

‘No arrests have been made or charges. However, a man has been interviewed voluntarily regarding the incident. Enquiries are ongoing in regards to the circumstances.’

A GoFundMe page has been launched for Ashleigh while she is off work, which has so far raised more than £3,000.

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