AJ Pritchard has described how a social media stunt that saw his girlfriend Abbie Quinnen suffer third degree burns went “horribly wrong”.
Strictly Come Dancing star Pritchard filmed a “life hack” with Quinnen, who is also a dancer, in January. The stunt was intended to demonstrate how a glass bottle can be cut in half to be used as a vase.
The technique involves dipping a rope into a flammable chemical, wrapping it around the bottle and lighting a flame. However, the glass exploded and set Quinnen’s upper body on fire.
Speaking to ITV’s This Morning, Pritchard thanked fans for their “love and support”, adding: “Honestly it’s so nice to have so much positivity in a world that feels quite overwhelming at the moment.”
Recalling the incident, he said: “There’s a tutorial to just follow online and unfortunately it went horribly wrong. I think what’s really scary is that her clothes caught light, her hair caught light and it all happened so fast, yet felt like a lifetime of a scenario.”
On how he responded to the situation, he said the “most upsetting thing” was “seeing someone you love on fire and feeling so helpless”. He said: “As soon as the fire on her body, on her hair, on her skin was out we covered her in damp towels, we called 999, we did everything we thought was the right thing to do and to get her to A&E as soon as possible.”
Pritchard’s brother Curtis, who rose to fame on Love Island, was there to help and drive the pair to the hospital. He said: “I was upstairs and I knew they were creating this video. I heard the fire alarm go off and I just came downstairs. I just remember opening the door and there was glass on the floor and the door just slightly jammed, and I saw AJ there. I said, ‘Is everything alright?’ and he said, ‘No,’ and I knew straight away that something had happened.”
Speaking of Quinnen being discharged from Chelsea and Westminster Burns Unit, Pritchard said: “Seeing her that first day, picking her up from hospital, that was the happiest day of my life, seeing her walk to me, get out of the wheelchair – obviously she was all bandaged up as you can see from that image – getting her back in bed.”
Quinnen had skin grafts and Pritchard said she is “healing fantastic”. In terms of her long-term recovery, he said: “Right now it’s just focusing on what we can do each day and seeing those small improvements which feel like massive steps forward.”