UofL Hospital Burn Center helps woman severely injured in kitchen fire

Updated: Oct. 5, 2020 at 9:22 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With the start of Fire Prevention Week, one woman is sharing her story on how University of Louisville Hospital’s Burn Center helped her recover after a grease fire caused devastating injury.

Rochelle Rushlow was in her bedroom ironing clothes one morning in July 2019, when the smoke alarm went off.

“I was rushing, so I was trying to make breakfast, iron clothes, do multiple things at one time,” Rushlow said as she retold her story to WAVE 3 News.

A grease fire had started in the kitchen where Rushlow was heating peanut oil inside of a pan. Rushlow said flames had crept up to the cabinets and the refrigerator, and she tried stopping the flames from getting bigger by taking the pan outside.

As she took the pan outside, she slipped and spilled the grease onto her body, causing the flames to spread to her body.

The hospital said that she had wraparound burns on her right side, and some on the left. She was treated at the UofL Hospital’s Burn Center for the second and third degree burns.

After two months in the Burn Center and eight surgeries, Rushlow was released to Frazier Rehab, and then to outpatient therapy.

Rushlow said the incident has taken an extreme toll.

“It has been horrific, I was suicidal for a little while, the pain is beyond imaginable,” Rushlow said. “So, it’s just, it’s been difficult. I can’t work anymore because of the PTSD.”

She said it’s important to share her story now, during Fire Prevention Week, in order to remind people of what to do in a grease fire.

“I knew not to put water on a grease fire, however, I didn’t know you could just cover it. So life would have been very different,” Rushlow said. “So I really want people to understand that... to know the dangers that are involved in every day things, like cooking.”

The National Fire Protection Association says cooking is the leading cause of house fires and house fire injuries.

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