Halie Tennant opens up about moment she was severely burnt in campfire accident


A primary school teacher who suffered horrific burns during a campfire accident has described the heartbreaking moment she gave her husband permission to leave her.

Halie Tennant, 29, from Hotspur in Victoria, had fallen asleep next to a fire in May during a camping trip with her friend before her chair tipped over sending her straight into the flames.

Ms Tennant was rushed to the ICU ward at The Alfred Hospital where she then spent the next eight days in a coma.

Now after several surgeries and skin grafts, the teacher has opened up on the harrowing ordeal including the heartbreaking words she told her husband.

‘If this is too much, you can leave’,’ she told her husband Mathew, she revealed in a piece for That’s Life.  

Halie Tennant’s skin grafts four days after surgery during a dressing change (pictured). She was burnt after accidentally falling into a fire during a camping trip 

Ms Tennant revealed the heartbreaking request she made to husband Mathew after suffering horrific burns to her face during a camping trip on May 30 (pictured at their wedding)

Ms Tennant revealed the heartbreaking request she made to husband Mathew after suffering horrific burns to her face during a camping trip on May 30 (pictured at their wedding)

Ms Tennant's husband reassured her that he would always love her after she toldhim she would understand if he left her following the accident

Ms Tennant’s husband reassured her that he would always love her after she toldhim she would understand if he left her following the accident 

Ms Tennant said Mathew reassured her he would always love her, but she knew she would have to face another battle.

‘It was reassuring, but I still struggled to deal with how I looked,’ she said.

‘My face was covered in burns and scars – my identity had gone.’ 

Ms Tennant said she and her friend had decided on the getaway to help her deal with a miscarriage she’d had with Mathew, who she married earlier this year.

The 29-year-old spent two-and-a-half months in hospital and underwent six surgeries including the removal of damaged skin and skin grafts to the face, neck, eyelids and mouth. 

She now has to wear a compression suit everyday. 

Ms Tennant (pictured, before the accident) said she and her friend had decided on the getaway to help her deal with a miscarriage she'd had with Mathew who she married earlier this year

Ms Tennant (pictured, before the accident) said she and her friend had decided on the getaway to help her deal with a miscarriage she’d had with Mathew who she married earlier this year 

Her friend, who had fallen asleep in her swag, awoke to a strange murmuring noise and the shocking sight of Halie lying head first in the campfire making no effort to move. 

‘My friend heard a weird noise and before she even registered what she was seeing, she was out of bed and running towards me,’ Ms Tennant said.

‘I was face first in our campfire and I was making no effort to get out.’  

Springing into action, Halie’s friend pulled her from the fire, quite possibly saving her life, and poured ice cold water over her terribly burnt face in order to cool it down. 

To make matters worse, while she was recovering in hospital strict coronavirus restrictions were set in place meaning visitors were rarely allowed.

Halie was placed in a coma for eight days due to the severity of her injuries after burning her face and now had to wear a compression suit (pictured)

Halie was placed in a coma for eight days due to the severity of her injuries after burning her face and now had to wear a compression suit (pictured)

‘Covid was the hardest part of my recovery, I really missed my family and friends. While in ICU I was only allowed one visitor for one hour per day so Mathew, my mum and my dad took turns sitting with me,’ she said. 

‘The hardest thing was losing my identity, I’m not a vain person, but your face and its characteristics are important in how you recognise yourself. Not knowing who you are any more is a hard thing to come to terms with.

‘The only comment I have received in person outside the hospital was a man walking past and he told me “you look like a zombie” and kept walking.’

But despite the life-changing ordeal the teacher refuses to let it control her life.

‘I think of my accident as a wake up call, a second chance to do better, to be better and to look after me better,’ she said. 

Halie spent two-and-a-half months in hospital and underwent six surgeries including the removal of damaged skin and skin grafts to the face, neck, eyelids and mouth (pictured with husband)

Halie spent two-and-a-half months in hospital and underwent six surgeries including the removal of damaged skin and skin grafts to the face, neck, eyelids and mouth (pictured with husband)

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