HORRIFIED Strictly star AJ Pritchard saw his girlfriend engulfed in fire when an online video stunt went wrong.
A flaming bottle of wine exploded on dancer Abbie Quinnen’s face and set her hair and clothing on fire, causing third degree burns.
Quick-witted AJ, 26, put out the flames, then dialed 999 – but after learning that an ambulance would take a while to arrive, he and his brother Curtis drove Abbie to A&E themselves .
A source said: “Abbie was shocked and suffered a lot, but AJ stepped in to put out the fire with a damp cloth.
“He was terrified himself, but he did all he could to keep it from burning. ”
Professional dancer Abbie, 23, suffered third degree burns and medics fought to save her face and arms from severe scarring.
She has since made 20 hospital visits, needed three skin grafts and fears for her career.
AJ is said to be devastated and has become her full-time nurse – taking care of dressing her bandages.
The couple were filming a life hack video for their million Instagram followers showing how to cut a glass bottle in half to use as a vase.
The risky trick is to dip a rope in a flammable chemical, wrap it around the bottle, and light a flame in it.
The couple’s attempt triggered a fireball that engulfed Abbie who was bending over a counter.
The bottle exploded and her hair and clothes caught fire.
The source told The Sun on Sunday: “AJ and Abbie were stranded in their home during the lockdown and, like many people, started making social media videos to pass the time.
“But this tutorial went horribly wrong. Abbie’s entire upper body caught fire.
“It all happened very quickly. It was like something out of a horror movie.
999 emergency operators told AJ paramedics could take some time to reach their apartment in west London.
So Love Island star Curtis, 25, who lives with the couple, stepped in and drove them to Ealing Hospital on January 19.
Abbie was admitted to intensive care before being transferred to the specialist burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster hospital the next day.
A source said: “Abbie was in agony and the brothers knew they had to take her to the hospital immediately for her burns to be treated.
“It has been an extremely difficult and trying time for them, but she is on the road to recovery.”
With Covid restrictions shutting down dance theaters, Abbie was making money as an influencer. She’s been off social media since the horror accident.
And with AJ, she’s now urging the public not to try the wine bottle hack – also seen by 7.7 million people on YouTube.
The source added, “AJ and Abbie want to warn others about the dangers of trying to emulate this type of video at home.
“They don’t want anyone going through what Abbie went through or is suffering.
“It’s been a horrible time as she worries about the future and her dancing career.
Caring AJ helps care for his girlfriend.
The source added: “He went there 24/7 to change Abbie’s bandages and take care of her.
“It’s delicate work but he just wants to make sure she’s okay.”
Abbie’s absence on social media had led some fans to wonder if she and AJ were still together.
But the source explained, “She suffered in secret and was completely traumatized by this horrific accident. She avoided social media because she didn’t want people to know about her injuries.
“She finds it hard to come to terms with all of this, but she is grateful for AJ’s support.
“He was her rock throughout this ordeal and gave her a positive attitude.
“AJ and Curtis both helped Abbie get to her hospital appointments and take care of daily care.”
Abbie stayed home between skin graft surgeries and regular hospital treatment. AJ supported her with her televised work.
A spokesperson for the couple confirmed: “Abbie has had upper body surgery and will continue to receive treatment.
“Abbie and AJ cannot thank all the nurses and doctors enough for their incredible care, support and expertise while being at Chelsea and Westminster Burns Unit and Ealing Hospital.
The couple met when Abbie auditioned for AJ’s Get On The Floor Live tour.
The Sun exclusively revealed that they were dating in 2018.
He was a professional dancer on four Strictly series – teaming up with YouTuber Saffron Barker in 2019 before leaving the following March.
Last fall AJ starred in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here at Gwrych Castle in North Wales – with Abbie there to support him.
Earlier last year, The Sun reported on Sunday how a hitman was offered £ 20,000 to kill Abbie.
The terrifying death threat was issued as she and AJ appeared together in a Peter Pan pantomime.
Abbie was told that a man from the “dark web” had received a list of dates and places she would perform.
This put her in a state of shock and the police advised her to strengthen her personal security. The sites were also alerted during the ensuing AJ Live tour, although the potential killer was never found.
Abbie has previously spoken of her hopes of walking down the aisle with AJ.
She said, “I really think it’s The One. We have talked about marriages and children. Fingers crossed that happens one day.
The ex-EastEnder sent a striptease video to the actress and asked for photos of underwear as ‘audition’
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“AJ and I work so hard on our bodies, making sure we eat right, and we always work together.”
During her I’m A Celebrity stint, Abbie said she had “gone crazy” without him.
She said he booked a UK break after the show ended, adding: “He’s so cute and very romantic. I have beautiful roses and candles. ”
Hackers go wrong … so stop and think
By Ben Griffiths
Jo Bullock, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “The extent and severity of Abbie’s injuries are shocking when you consider that they occurred during a craft project in home.
“We send him our best wishes for a full recovery.
“Social media platforms are full of life hacks that people want to share.
“Most can be recreated at home without any problem. But it’s so important to take a moment to think about it before deciding whether or not to copy what you see.
“Think about what could go wrong and what the impact might be so that you don’t be surprised by the unexpected.
“As this shocking case illustrates, an accident can take a fraction of a second, but very serious injuries can result – and their effects can last a long time.
“When watching a life-hack video, remember that the poster can be experienced and skillful at what it demonstrates.
“They can have all the right tools and the safety kit.
“You have to be really honest about your own experience and find out if you have the equipment.
“We advise you to be very careful with anything flammable, as things can get out of hand very quickly.”
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