A mum of two has spoken about the traumatic moment she watched her two children burn alive in a freak fire accident – sharing her story to warn other parents.
Prue Mathiesen, 32, a stay-at-home mum from Lancefield, Victoria, can't sleep anymore, with her mind constantly replaying her sons' screams.
On June 2 2022, her boys, Xander, 3, and Tanner, 2, became engulfed in flames after an aerosol can exploded.
Against the odds, the brave children survived, but have been left with severe scars across their bodies, with 40 per cent of Xander's face suffering deep burns.
Prue and her husband Adam, 29, are now sharing the horrifying details of the worst day of their life to warn other parents.
"After the explosion, they were screaming, crying and looking for me," Prue told NeedToKnow.online.
"At the time [of the incident], I couldn't think past getting them help.
"I just grabbed them as quickly as I could to get them under some water.
"I can't even tell you how I was feeling at that moment, as I was just so focused on what the boys needed from me.
"It was the most traumatic experience of my life and something I’ll think about for the rest of my time on this Earth."
On the day of the incident, Prue had been burning some branches in the back garden when the explosion occurred.
Firefighters later discovered it was caused by an aerosol can.
Both of the boys stood with Prue while their dad, Adam was cutting firewood 150 metres away from the house in bushland.
Xander, who took the brunt of the explosion, was airlifted to a hospital and placed in an induced coma for two weeks to allow his body to heal.
The fire had burnt almost half his face, as well as the back of his hands and a patch on his scalp and shoulder.
Meanwhile, Tanner suffered from burns on his face and hands, but they were less severe.
He remained in the hospital for a week while his injuries healed.
"For the majority of the time we waited for the emergency services [after the explosion] I had the boys in the shower until we were told it was ok to take them out," Prue said.
"They did their best to get out, but I had them pinned with my arms.
"Neither liked being in there and were screaming and crying.
"I was running on adrenaline and some panic at this stage.
"There was nothing at that moment that was going to comfort them or ease their pain."
Toddlers' road to recovery
Luckily, after being rushed to the hospital, Tanner was able to return home after only a week.
However, older brother Xander, due to the severity of his injuries, wasn't allowed to leave when Tanner did.
He remained in the hospital for a further three weeks and was finally able to go home exactly a month after the incident on July 2.
"I have moments where I’ll replay what happened in my mind and catch myself getting emotional, but I’ll then switch my thinking over to something else," Prue said.
"Aside from his physical injuries, for a long time, Tanner suffered from trauma surrounding water, as he associated the pain with being held in the shower, rather than the fire.
"He wouldn't set foot in a bath and for a long time would scream if he heard the water running."
While Tanner only suffered minor injuries, Xander will tragically require life-long treatment including laser therapy, steroid injections, and potentially, more skin grafts.
"All of Xander's wounds have healed up and it's all about managing his scarring now," the mum said.
"He will have to wear compression garments for up to 23 hours a day and we'll have to do some mouth stretches with him to keep the scar tissue from hindering his ability to open his mouth.
"None of these things he likes doing, so it's a daily battle."
Due to the extent of treatment needed for their baby boy, the family has launched a GoFundMe, which has so far raised more than $356,000.
The proceeds are being used to help the family adapt to their new life in and out of the hospital.
Despite the heartbreak, Prue wants to speak out to help others parents and warn them about fire safety to prevent this from happening to another child.
"What happened to my boys is horrific, it was such a terrible accident that you wouldn't wish it on anyone," she said.
"By sharing their story, I hope to raise awareness about kids around fires.
"I thought we were safe; my kids were a safe distance away, but they still got injured.
"One thing this accident has shown me is how resilient kids are – they absolutely blow me away and do what needs to be done."
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