Burns victim felt like a ‘monster’ when boyfriend dumped her after hot oil exploded over her face while frying donuts

A BURNS victim said she felt like a ‘monster’ when her partner dumped her after she suffered third-degree burns to her face. 

Charlene Chew, 23, was left 'devastated' when her ex-boyfriend ended their relationship after a pan full of oil exploded over half her face, at her home in Melbourne, Australia.


The business student from Singapore was cooking donuts with her ex-boyfriend, who accidentally forgot the stove on.

When Ms Chew realised smoke was coming out of the kitchen, she panicked and quickly grabbed the pan of boiling oil and placed it in a sink full of water, thinking it would stop it from burning. 

But it had quite the opposite result as the oil exploded into the woman’s face.

Charlene said: “Several litres of oil were left to boil at maximum heat for nearly an hour.

“The house filled up with smoke and I panicked. Not thinking, I took the pot of oil and put it in water and it exploded onto my face and shoulders.

“It was the most traumatic and excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life, I have no words to describe it.

“I was in too much pain and confusion to know the full extent of my injuries, but I knew it was bad."

Charlene was then rushed to the hospital and was admitted to a burns ward. 




During her month-long stay, she underwent two skin grafts on her face to repair her damaged skin. 

She admits she struggled to come to grips with her new appearance and found it difficult to look at her blistered skin in the mirror.

And while she was trying to recover, she said the first month was ‘devastating’ after her boyfriend broke up with her within two weeks of her discharge. 

Since their breakup, Charlene decided to move back home to Singapore for recovery and is determined not to let her accident put her down.

“I only remember feeling really confused and clutching on to my paramedic's hand and asking if I was going to be okay all the way up until he had to leave me,” she added.

“Burns recovery is difficult and a lot goes on behind the scenes – it's not just physical suffering but also mental too.

“I was extremely traumatised, confused, frustrated and had a lot of resistance towards accepting the new me and new reality.

“I feel like I am not walking this journey alone.


“I get the occasional rude online comment, especially when I have my compression garment on.

“In public, some people go out of their way to stare and one time there was a senior couple who stared at me, pointed their fingers at me while whispering amongst themselves in my face.

“It went on for a while and I ended up bursting into tears.

“But if anything, right now I am more at peace with myself and more confident than I ever have been because I know I am a fighter and I am resilient.”

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