A mum burst into flames after a blow torch used to light crème brulee’s sent a fireball across a counter at a Disneyland Paris restaurant.
Erica Osbourne, 37, suffered burns to her face after the ball of fire set light to her jumper and instantly spread to her face.
A chef at the Newport Bay Hotel Restaurant was using a blow torch to light alcohol on crème brulees.
The flames narrowly missed Erica’s 10-year-old daughter Abi as she had gone to get ice cream just two seconds before.
Mum of two Erica, from Bristol, who organised the trip around her 37th birthday, suffered second degree burns, scarring to her face and lost part of her eye brows and hair.
This was a terrifying incident that could have resulted in much more serious consequences. It was only by pure luck that a child was not seriously injured and only down to the quick thinking of a couple of people that Mrs Osbourne did not suffer more serious burns.
She said: “I had ordered the crème brulee and Abigail had literally just gone to get an ice cream when the chef lit the sugar and a massive fireball came across the counter towards me.
“I was so terrified that I froze to the spot but I remember an intense heat on my face. Abigail told me later that I was screaming ‘help me! I’m on fire’. My jumper and my face were on fire.
“One of the chefs jumped over the counter and him and a customer bundled me to the ground and rolled me around to put out the flames.
“I opened my eyes to see everybody staring at me and there were all of these children screaming. My face was really painful and felt very hot.”
Erica was treated by paramedics after the incident in February this year before being transferred to hospital where she was kept in for several hours.
She said her greatest fear was for her daughter who narrowly missed being engulfed in the fireball.
“I remember telling Abi to go and get an ice cream from a fridge in the serving area two seconds before I was engulfed in flames.
“She was literally two seconds away from being hit by the fireball and it terrifies me. She has said since that she wanted to run away from the restaurant as she was so scared. She has had nightmares about it since.
“Several months on and she says she still pictures me on fire when she closes her eyes.”
Erica is now taking legal action against Disneyland Paris.
She said: “The last thing you expect when you take your kids to Disneyland is to get a blow torch in the face.
“I’m angry that this was allowed to happen as it could so easily have been my daughter who was injured instead of me.
“Immediately after I was burnt one of the managers said to me that the incident was ‘no different to falling off a bike’. I couldn’t believe it. Another person at the park asked if I had been wearing lots of perfume, as if they were trying to say it was my fault. I had been in the park all day with my kids so I definitely wasn’t.
“What I really want out of this is a written apology and for them to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
James Griffin, a specialist travel lawyer from Slater and Gordon, who is representing Mrs Osbourne, said: “This was a terrifying incident that could have resulted in much more serious consequences. It was only by pure luck that a child was not seriously injured and only down to the quick thinking of a couple of people that Mrs Osbourne did not suffer more serious burns. Tour operators and hotels have a duty to ensure their customers are protected from harm and we would urge them to review their safety procedures if they use blow torches in their restaurants.”