US backpacker in Hobart suffers third degree burns to her back after stovetop set her shirt on fire
GRAPHICS WARNING: See the horrific injuries sustained by a female backpacker, 30, at a hostel when a hob that was on set her shirt on fire
- Brianna Jonovitch, 30, suffered burns from a hob at a Hobart hostel in May
- She suffered third-degree burns to 13 percent of her body, mainly on the back
- A hob had been left on with the flames on the back of her shirt
- A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money for her high medical bills
An American backpacker traveling through Australia is stuck here with rising medical bills after suffering horrific burns all over her back when her shirt caught fire in a hostel.
Brianna Jonovitch, 30, was staying in a hostel in Hobart in May and was using the communal kitchen when she was suddenly set on fire.
A hob had been left unattended and had caught the back of her shirt as flames ripped through the skin on her back, armpits, hands and chest.
Ms Jonovitch was exposed directly to the flames for 30 seconds, leaving her second and third degree burns on 13 percent of her body.
The 30-year-old said she didn’t understand how the fire started at first, as her burner had been off for a few minutes, unaware that one was still on.
“I felt the fire get really big, really fast and I saw panic on my girlfriend’s face after she tried to put it out but it didn’t work,” she told the Daily Mail Australia.
“I think I just realized I had to do something or it would get really bad very quickly.”
Brianna Jonovitch, 30, (pictured before the accident) was staying in a hostel in Hobart in May, using the communal kitchen when she was suddenly set on fire
She remembered being told at school to fall and roll in a fire, so she quickly fell to the ground.
“I’m pretty sure the tiles didn’t help and at that point the fire was the size of my back,” the 30-year-old added.
“I remember realizing that the only way out would be to lift the two button-up shirts I was wearing over my head.
“Thinking about how that would bring the fire to my hair and face was really scary, but there was no alternative, so I just did it.”
Shocking photos shared by her sister Felicia Faulkner show how serious the incident was, which saw the woman spend three days in hospital.
“She wore several coats… but the kitchen floor was tiled and oily, which made the fire worse,” said Mrs. Faulkner.
“She had to take off her burning shirt over her head, which left burns on her hands, armpits, chest and almost her entire back.”
A photo shows the burns to her back three days after the May incident. She had to spend three days in the hospital
Ms Jonovitch has since moved to her sister’s Melbourne home, where she continues to receive treatment for her burns.
“Several times a week we had to take her to the burns unit at Alfred Hospital as an outpatient to scrub her back and repair wounds. This has been a painful and difficult recovery,” her sister said.
But the pain isn’t over, as the American woman faces a huge medical bill.
Pictured are her burns after a week. Her sister has since started a GoFundMe page to help pay her high medical bills
She was staying in Australia on a work visa and had no medical insurance at the time.
Her sister has since started a GoFundMe with a goal of $12,500 to help pay the cost.
Despite the horrific burns she suffered, Ms Jonovitch said she is “recovering well.”
“In the beginning it was very painful and I needed a lot of help. But now most of the pain is gone and it’s just working on the scars that go on,” she said.
She also praised the doctors and nurses who looked after her in Hobart.
“They really went above and beyond their job descriptions to make sure I was comfortable and even tried to make me laugh when they could,” she added.
“It really helped me to keep my spirits up through the whole ordeal.”
Ms. Jonovitch was exposed directly to the flames for 30 seconds, leaving her second to third degree burns up to 13 percent of her body (pre-accident photo)