Couple share experience of burns on Burns Awareness Day

April Owens and Josh White were cooking dinner on a gas stove on their houseboat when it caught fire.

The couple had been working on their beloved boat to make it their perfect home for more than a year when it was engulfed by fire last month and they both suffered significant burns.

Josh, a craftsman, suffered burns to his face, arms, legs and feet after the flames spread to him.

Without thinking the pair made it out of the boat, April through the open back door and Josh through the fire to the front door and jumped into the water.


April and Josh were able to put out most of the flames engulfing the boat using buckets of water while they were in the river to minimise the risk of gas canisters at the front of the boat catching fire. Despite their efforts the boat was still alight when firefighters arrived and was destroyed in the fire.

“The firefighters came really fast and they had to work through the night to completely put out the fire because of the gas canisters at the front, they are amazing, they risk their lives to do this,” April said.

“The paramedics were great and they rushed us here to Southmead and the amount of care we have had here was just exceptional. We have been in absolute awe, we could not have wished to come anywhere better. We are both very appreciative.”

Josh was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Southmead Hospital, where he spent seven days and after three weeks in hospital he was able to leave. April was on the burns unit for almost two weeks and both are returning for check-ups and dressing changes.

“When we jumped in the water we didn’t really know if it was the best thing to do, but we have since been told that cold water should be applied to a burn for 20 minutes, so I guess it was,” April said.

Josh added: “I am really grateful to the hospital, everyone has been so amazing.”

“Even thought this was terrible for us it has made us both realise how important it is to have a positive outlook when something like this happens.”

April and Josh have been supported by a crowdfund page set up by a colleague to help them after they lost their home as a result of the fire.