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Sisters Julie Matthews and Jody Matthews burnt in gas explosion at Ship country pub in Dartford

By KentOnline reporter

Two sisters were blown across a pub kitchen and left with burns after a gas explosion.

Julie, 30 and Jody Matthews, 34, were lighting the appliance when a sudden burst of flame shot them across the room in The Ship pub, Puddledock Lane, Dartford.

The Ship is run by their mother Debbie Matthews, 52.

The fire broke out at The Ship in Dartford
The fire broke out at The Ship in Dartford

She was not there at the time but headed straight home when she heard.

Ms Matthews said: “It was awful, your mind is racing.

“You’re just imagining all sorts but when I got there they were in the back of the ambulance.

“I didn’t see them until I got to the hospital. I was quite relieved when I saw them.”

South East Coast Ambulance service described the women’s injuries as “flash burns” which are caused by a quick burst of flames.

The burns on their faces, chests and necks were assessed as “superficial” but needed “serious” treatment upon arrival at Medway Maritime Hospital, which has a burns unit.

The sisters have since been transferred to a specialist burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

Ms Matthews described the injuries as looking like “severe sunburn” with some blistering and explained the injuries could have been a lot worse if it was not for the quick actions of the women and two customers, who she knows only as Steve and Claire.

She said: “There were a couple of customers in the bar who rushed in and helped them.

“They were amazing and the ambulance service was brilliant.If it wasn’t for them it could have been a lot worse.

“It could have been a hundred times worse if they had left it [the gas] on longer" - Debbie Matthews

“The customers and [the girls] themselves soaked a lot of towels with cold water and just covered themselves in them while they waited for the ambulance.

“It was the pain more than anything. They were in agony.”

Ms Matthews was not sure what caused the oven to malfunction, and is going to contact the health and safety department at Dartford council to get to the root of the problem.

She said:“It could have been a hundred times worse if they had left it [the gas] on longer.

“We’ve got a safety thing on the wall that says if you light the gas cooker you’ve got to use the vents.

“They could have put it on for an hour and then lit it and it would have been a hell of a lot worse.”

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