Mum suffers third-degree burns over half her body after throwing petrol on fire

A mum was engulfed in flames and left with horror third-degree burns across half her body after she threw petrol on a bonfire.

Elba Hernandez was building a bonfire with her 14-year-old niece Naydelin Medina to try and keep warm while they sat out in the garden on September 28th.

The 44-year-old decided to throw on more fuel to try and stoke the flames but the bonfire ‘ exploded ‘ leaving her with horrific burns on 45 per cent of her body.

The mum-of-two was airlifted to hospital where she was wrapped in bandages, put in an induced coma and hooked up to an oxygen machine due to smoke damage in her lungs.

Medics described Elba’s survival a ‘miracle’ and her lungs have finally started to recover so she was woken up last week and rushed into surgery for skin grafts on her arms, legs and stomach, which are healing well.

Naydelin, who had her back to the bonfire, is at home recovering with second-degree burns to her legs and is getting help from a counsellor about what she witnessed.

Elba’s construction worker husband Marco Hernandez, 50, daughter Angeli Hernandez, 20, and son Marcos Hernandez, 13, are sharing the horrifying story to raise the funds to cover medical bills, which they expect to hit up to $100,000.

Angeli, from Pleasantville, New Jersey, US, said: “My mum was trying to make a bonfire in the backyard.

“They were trying to keep warm in the garden, it was pretty cold.

“She was using gasoline to light it. She used too much of it, it was already on and she added more and it exploded.

“She still had the bottle in her hand so it got most of her hand, her body from the neck down, her face looked like a bad sunburn.

“It was third-degree burns on 45 percent of her body.

“Her lungs were damaged because she breathed in too much smoke and the smell of gasoline got into her lungs.

“The doctor said we had to have faith for a miracle to happen, she shouldn’t be alive right now. She’s lucky.

“It got my cousin’s leg but she’s ok and she’s home. She’s in shock but she’s talking to someone so that’s helping her a lot.

“Mum is doing a lot better than she was. She’s awake but she isn’t talking yet because her vocal chords aren’t to their fullest.

“When her lungs started to regain their strength, they went right into surgery to attach the donor skin to her leg and right hand. It’s healing great.

“We haven’t seen the injuries but they are slowly healing where they put the donor skin and they say it’s looking good.

“All the doctors tell us is she’s doing much better but she still has to be cautious with her wounds and we’re waiting to see if the donor skin is sticking to her.”

Casino worker Angeli received a call while she at work and immediately rushed home to find her mum being lifted into a helicopter.

Angeli said: “I was at work, I got the call saying she’d had an accident so I rushed home.

“It was scary when I got the call, I don’t even know how I made it home.

“They landed the helicopter in the park and when I got home they were leaving to take her to the hospital.

“They had her sedated when I arrived at the hospital so she was sleeping. Somehow, she could hear so she did move when we were there.

“Her face was all covered in smoke and her body was wrapped in bandages.

“It looked bad, it was devastating. I couldn’t imagine it, I felt like it was a bad dream and I’d wake up tomorrow and my mum wouldn’t be in the hospital.”

The family are appealing for help to pay for Elba’s medical fees including transportation costs, hospitalisation, medications, pre-surgery treatment, anaesthetics and surgery.

Angeli said: “We’re trying not to worry about the money, we just want her to be healthy but her insurance won’t cover it.

“Mum is always happy, hyper and putting everyone else’s needs above hers. She loves to help the community, she distributes food for people.

“She volunteers at church and any event, she’s the first one there to help.”