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Victorian teacher opens up about moment she was severely burnt in campfire accident

The traumatic experience of being severely burned in a nightmare camping accident was shared by a Victorian primary school teacher.

In May this year, Halie Tennant, from Hotspur, decided to go on a casual camping trip with her friend.

The 29-year-old had fallen asleep on her camping chair, which had tipped over and sent Halie into the fire headfirst.

At The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, she was rushed to the ICU, where the true extent of her injuries became apparent.

Before being transported to the burns unit to begin her long road to rehabilitation, she was put in an eight-day coma.

She has undergone several operations so far, including skin grafts, and because of COVID, she has had to deal with the additional problem of not being able to see family and friends in ICU.

Halie said that the camping trip had been a way for her to get over the sorrow of a miscarriage with her husband Mathew, whom she had married earlier this year, writing for That’s Life.

The only thing she recalled after falling asleep in her camping chair was waking up in a hospital with her face closely wrapped in bandages.

“Doctors believe my pain receptors had burnt off so quickly that I didn’t even feel what was happening,” she said.

“Six per cent of my body, including my face, had suffered third to fourth-degree burns.

“I was wrapped in bandages from my head right down to my ribcage.”

Halie said it was a few days after seeing her burnt face for the first time to fully understood what had happened.

“’I’m going to say his once’, I said to Mathew, ‘but if this is too much, you can leave’,” she said.

“’No way, I love you,’ he insisted.

“It was reassuring, but I still struggled to deal with how I looked.

“My face was covered in burns and scars – my identity had gone.”

She was discharged from hospital after two months.

“If life has taught me anything this year, it’s to always look for the silver lining, no matter how small it may be.”

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