Three weeks after suffering first- and second-degree burns to her face, hands, chest and neck, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm was back on the air Tuesday, hosting the Rose Parade telecast with hair extensions, drawn-on eyebrows and a bandaged left hand.
The 50-year-old TV anchor and mother of three says she hopes to turn her ordeal into an opportunity to talk about how to safely operate propane gas grills. It was a gas grill accident at her Connecticut home that injured Storm.
She lost roughly half her hair and her eyebrows and eyelashes were burned off in the accident. She wore extensions for the ABC telecast and a makeup artist drew on eyebrows.
This was the fifth time Storm, a former CBS morning anchor, has hosted the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. She says it was a familiar and comforting setting to make her return.
The Illinois-born award-winning sportscaster and producer was preparing dinner outside her home in Connecticut on the night of Dec. 11 when she noticed the flame on the grill had gone out. She turned off the gas and when she reignited it "there was an explosion and a wall of fire came at me."
"It was like you see in a movie, it happened in a split-second," she said. "A neighbor said he thought a tree had fallen through the roof, it was that loud. It blew the doors off the grill."
Storm was taken by ambulance to the Trauma and Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center and was treated for 24 hours.