French tourist burnt in gas cooker explosion

Firefighters put out a fire in a van in Queenstown early yesterday. Photo: James Allan Photography
Firefighters put out a fire in a van in Queenstown early yesterday. Photo: James Allan Photography
A French tourist says she is lucky to be alive after a gas cooker exploded in her face in Queenstown yesterday.

When Pauline Bard (28) went to drive her van from the home of a friend in Fernhill to Arrowtown about 2am, she smelled gas.

Miss Bard opened the side door of her van, which was insured, while it was sitting in the driveway and tried to turn off the gas cooker, already on fire, which then exploded.

Her jacket was covering her hand but she was burned on the forehead.

She dashed to the driver's side of the van to get her handbag containing her passport and watched as her van ''quickly'' went up in flames.

''I called the fire man and after I just realised I was burnt I asked them to call the ambulance.

''When I saw my face I thought I was lucky to be alive.''

She said she remembered turning off the five-month-old gas cooker the last time she used it and wondered if it had been bumped back on while driving.

Neighbours Braden and Angela Lee were woken by a high-pitched squealing followed by a loud bang.

''It was unbelievably scary.

''I was shaking for about two hours afterwards,'' Mrs Lee said. ''It was very scary.''

Miss Bard lost all her camping gear and cellphone.

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