You might remember the fire at Liam Payne’s balcony that left his best friend Andy Samuels injured with severe burns across his body last month after a heater exploded and caught him on fire in a horrific accident. Andy has since been recovering from the incident and had to undergo several surgeries and was treated for the third degree burns across his body, he was able to go home from the hospital back on September 15.
Liam has been called a hero by fans and Andy’s family for his quick action that saved Andy’s life when the incident occurred and now Andy is speaking publicly for first time describing exactly what went through his mind and how Liam helped save his life when the whole thing happened.
“I can still see Liam trying to put out the flames with his hands,” Andy told The Mirror in a new interview released on Sunday (October 6). “I was set completely on fire – terror is the only word fit to describe what I was feeling. The pain and the panic I felt is something no one should have to go through. I was the one that was injured, but it was a crazy, horrible experience for Liam to witness as well.”
Andy said that it seemed like his body burned for an entirety and that he felt that he was going to die. ”He was trying to help me but I thought I was going to die. I was running around trying to get enough water. I tore one of his taps off the wall in such a blind panic and eventually threw myself in his shower.”
“I looked at my arm at one point and my skin was destroyed and hanging off, it was like a cheese string,” he continued. “I don’t remember much except thinking my life was over. It would have broken me to see my best friend like that.”
He added: “The best thing Liam and Sophia did that night for me was just reassure me and try to keep me calm until the ambulance arrived. I was in such a panic. I was also worried I’d burned the building down and they kept talking to me to keep me conscious.”
Following the fire, which destroyed most of the balcony and took 35 firefighters to put out, the recovery process has been a tough one for Andy. He had to undergo seven skin grafts and he thanks the good work of the hospital and the support of his family and friends for continuing to help him get through it.
“I had seven skin grafts where I had third-degree burns and no skin left. They took skin from my thigh so I have three grafts on my left arm, three on my chest and one on my right ankle,” he said. “My week in the intensive care unit is a blur. I looked so bad my family didn’t think I’d ever look like me again.”
“My mum and my girlfriend were by my side 24/7 – they’ve been incredible. The support of Liam and my other best friend Jordan has been amazing as well,” he added. “I was pretty out of it on pain medication but I remember coming to one day and just blurting out, ‘I need a McDonald’s!’ Next thing I know Liam had got his security to rush one to my bedside. If I was conscious he would just chat with me and try to keep my spirits up.”
Andy realizes how lucky he is to survive, but says that although he will make a full recovery psychically, the psychological scars will be with him for the rest of his life.
He said: “I’m incredibly lucky, this could have been so much worse but the psychological effects outweigh the physical effects. There is medicine for my pain, and my scars will heal but mentally I’m never going to forget what happened. I still have dreams and think about it, it still scares me so bad.”
“Having your best friend there for you like Liam has made this so much easier,” he added. “His support has been incredible and we’re in contact pretty much constantly every day, even though he’s in Australia at the moment. We talk about everything but I’ll update him about my recovery every now and then.”
“I’ve had some really low moments, lying in hospital, too scared to even look at myself in the mirror to see the damage but Liam and my family and girlfriend were there to talk me round. I couldn’t have done it without them and the incredible nurses at Broomfield Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and Burns Unit.”
Andy added: “I think Liam was affected by what he witnessed but he didn’t talk about that, just about how he knew I would be all right. And he was right – four weeks later and I’m still breathing and I’m doing normal things like going shopping with my nan.”
What do you make of Andy’s situation? Sounds pretty scary, right? But it's good that he's making a full recovery and that things are returning to normal for him.
If you wanna see photos of Andy’s skin following the fire, check out The Mirror.