9:54 AM EST, January 2, 2013
ESPN anchor Hannah Storm speaks for the first time about a terrifying accident that left her with burns on her face, neck, hands and chest. Her hand is still bandaged.
"I saw that I was on fire. That's....it's a terrible feeling," said Storm.
She looked beautiful during her first day back on TV, hosting the Rose Parade on New Year's Day with her pal, Good Morning America's Josh Elliot.
She told him she was able to pull herself together thanks to hair extensions, and a long makeup session.
Storm said, "God bless the nurse who cut all my hair off. This is all fake, you know all this, eyebrows and eyelashes and everything."
The accident happened three weeks ago in the backyard of her Connecticut home when she says a grill fueled by propane gas blew up as she was preparing dinner.
"We have a propane grill. I went outside to light it, to cook the meat. Went back inside for about 10 minutes. Came back outside, and it was a windy night, so the flames had been blown out. So I turned the gas off. I went to re-ignite, and there was an explosion. A wall of fire like something you see in a movie. It came right at me and it was an explosion so powerful and fierce, it literally blew the doors of the grill off," said Storm.
Storm's nightmare is reminding us all about just how dangerous backyard barbeques can be. YouTube videos show how in an instant a cookout can go up in flames.
Vincent McManus of the Nassau County Fire Marshall's office in New York says Storm was right to shut the gas off, but she may have made a common mistake by re-igniting the grill too soon because propane gas is heavier than air and tends to linger before dissipating.
"Wait a safe amount of time for the grill to cool down and for the gas to dissipate before you attempt to relight the stove. If you don't wait that amount of time, it could cause a flash fire or and an explosion," said McManus.
Storm, the former co-host of CBS' The Early Show, was lucky her 15-year-old daughter, Hannah Beth, was there to rush to her aid.
"So, I yelled inside to my daughter, 'Mommy is on fire, call 911!' She's so non-plussed, nothing phases her. To have a calm person like that, in that kind of situation is unbelievable."
Storm says she couldn't believe what she looked like when she saw herself in the mirror, saying, "What I saw in the mirror, it was scary. I looked completely disfigured."
Despite her injuries, Hannah Storm says she considers herself incredibly lucky to be alive.