Accountant Steve Davies suffered these horrific burns when he leaned down to check why his barbecue hadn’t started – and a fireball exploded in his face.
The 55 year-old had doused the charcoal in accelerant twice as he struggled to get it burning for himself and wife Janice.
But as he leaned over it to see what was happening a sudden gust of wind ignited it – and covered his head in flames.
Janice, 48, witnessed the horror from the kitchen window of their cottage and darted out to throw a bottle of water over him.
She then dashed to get help from their neighbours as Steve ran around his garden fighting with the flames engulfing his head, hair and hands.
An air ambulance arrived after 20 minutes and flew him to hospital where he spent two weeks recovering from first and second-degree burns.
But despite the initial horror of the incident, fortunate Steve has suffered little lasting damage.
He has recovered without skin grafts because most of the damaged skin was delicately picked away by doctors.
Steve, who works for a haulage firm, said: “The pain was indescribable and I had no idea at the time how badly I was burning.
“I thought it was just my hair on fire and when I tried putting my hair out with my hand that caught fire too.
“Because I couldn’t see my head and could see my hand, I was more concerned about losing my fingers.
“After about a minute I sincerely thought about giving up. The pain was too much and I didn’t think I was going to make it.
“In those kinds of situations, seconds are an eternity and I just thought it would never go out.”
The incident happened at the couple’s cottage in Leyburn, north Yorks., on a Saturday afternoon in June.
Steve, who has no children, spent 24 hours in the High Dependency Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Hospital before being transferred to the burns unit.
He added: “The doctors told me that if I could handle the pain then I wouldn’t need to have surgery or a skin graft and luckily I could.
“After a few days I was able to pick away at the scabs and pull the dead skin off.
“I lost my eyelashes, my eyebrows, most of my hair and half my upper lip but I feel fine now.
“I can’t believe how well my skin has repaired itself – I never thought I could repair so quickly.
“I just want thank the doctors at the Royal Victoria and the helicopter paramedics. They are the true heroes.
“I don’t think we’ll be having any more barbecues this summer – my wife’s banned me.
“It was very traumatic for her so she’s thrown it out.”