Lee Elliott, winner of The Bachelorette 2016, is urging everyone to be careful with fire after seriously burning his hand on New Year's Eve.
It was 30 seconds until midnight on the last day of 2018 and Lee wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time.
Grabbing a handful of sparklers – about 40 in total – the Bachelorette 2016 winner set them alight.
It was a move that saw him and girlfriend Georgia spend the rest of the night in The Alfred emergency department.
The sparklers exploded in a ball of flame, scorching Lee’s right hand so badly he needed a skin graft. Donor skin was taken from his thigh.
Now, a month later and with lasting scars on his hand and leg, Lee is urging people to consider the risks when they’re playing with fire.
“It was just a split second thing, I didn’t really think about what might happen,” Lee said.
“My hand won’t ever be normal again, it will scar and I’ll have to wear a compression glove for months”.
“I’d urge everyone to just stop and think – if you’re going to do something remotely dangerous, think it through. A split second decision could affect you for the rest of your life.”
Hana Menezes, Burns Nurse Practitioner at The Alfred’s Victorian Adult Burns Service said injuries like Lee’s are remarkably common and very preventable.
“We see an increase in people seriously burning their hands over the festive and camping season,” Hana said.
“We treat people with burn injuries from sparklers, fireworks, falling in to fire pits, BBQs and cooking incidents. These are all largely preventable burns.”
“These burns can result in people losing the use of their hand, which has a significant impact on how you function. We are asking people to please be very careful around fire or anything hot, don’t take any unnecessary risks. Think about what you’re doing.”
Lee is back at work now and considers himself lucky that the damage wasn’t more severe.
“It’s painful and it’s hard not being able to use my right hand, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said.