Gold Coast couple suffers serious burns after gas explosion at their Robina cafe

A young couple who suffered serious burns to their faces in a gas explosion on the Gold Coast early on Friday morning have been identified as James Rutland and Jessica Horsley. 

The couple were in the midst of planning the opening of their new business, Local Harvest Cafe Robina, with Ms Horsley sharing her excitement in an Instagram story just hours before the blast occurred. 

‘Sweet treats in the making’ read the post, which shared a video from the inside of the cafe’s kitchen. 

Rutland, 26, and Horsley, 23, had been gleefully posting a countdown to the grand opening on social media, with the devastating explosion occurring just weeks before they planned to open its doors. 

Jessica Horsley and James Rutland were setting up for the grand opening of their Local Harvest Cafe in Robina on the Gold Coast on August 2nd

Jessica Horsley and James Rutland were setting up for the grand opening of their Local Harvest Cafe in Robina on the Gold Coast on August 2nd

For the past week the couple had been eagerly advertising the cafe’s August 2nd opening date with daily updates and a free coffee promotion posted to social media. 

’19 days and counting until we open! Who will be us on open day?’ a recent post read. 

The latest update shared to the Instagram was made a day ago with Ms Horsley celebrating the arrival of the cafe’s new logo.  

‘Local Harvest Cafe finally have its own fresh look’ the post reads.  

Ms Horsley made another heartbreaking post moments before the tragic incident happened. 

In an Instagram story, the couple hinted they were in the process of preparing baked treats, posting a video of baking ingredients and tagging her chef partner from the cafe’s kitchen. 

An Instagram story (pictured) was posted to the couple's Local Harvest Cafe Instagram page just hours before the devastating blast

An Instagram story (pictured) was posted to the couple’s Local Harvest Cafe Instagram page just hours before the devastating blast 

The couple sustained significant burns to their faces, limbs and abdomens after the gas explosion on Friday

The couple sustained significant burns to their faces, limbs and abdomens after the gas explosion on Friday 

Paramedics were called to the scene at around 12.15pm after a gas bottle set off an explosion while the couple were testing equipment.

Mr Rutland and Ms Horsley were rushed to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in a serious but stable condition, suffering significant burns to the face, limbs and abdomen.  

‘A 26-year-old male and a 23-year-old female were … setting up the kitchen within [a] new coffee shop,’ Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson Andre Gollop said.

‘When they were testing the gas system, they’ve had a flash explosion occur and both the male and the female occupants have sustained pretty significant burns to their arms, legs, their torso, and their faces.’ 

The gas explosion at the Robina cafe (pictured) saw the pair rushed to hospital at about 12.15pm on Friday

The gas explosion at the Robina cafe (pictured) saw the pair rushed to hospital at about 12.15pm on Friday

The couple were said to be testing gas equipment when the blast occurred

The couple were said to be testing gas equipment when the blast occurred

Witness Josh Waddell works in the same estate as the café formerly known as Otve, and told Daily Mail Australia the two people inside appeared to be badly burnt.

‘Everyone immediately ran out and tried to attend to them,’ he said. 

‘Lucky the [Robina] police station is directly across the road,’ he said. ‘They came quickly to cover them with towels.’

Mr Waddell said the café had recently been taken over and he has seen the new owners preparing over the past two weeks for the grand opening as Local Harvest café.

‘We were all evacuated down the road.’ 

A Toll courier said he’d been about to enter the cul-de-sac to deliver a package to the building next door to the café when he heard the explosion. 

‘It was just this incredibly loud bang and then the sound of glass hitting the concrete outside,’ he said.  

The injured couple have significant burns to their faces, limbs and abdominal area, the Queensland Ambulance Service said

The injured couple have significant burns to their faces, limbs and abdominal area, the Queensland Ambulance Service said

Valerie De Jersey heard the explosion and saw the windows of the café explode while dropping off her friend at a nearby business. Pictured: Cops at the scene

Valerie De Jersey heard the explosion and saw the windows of the café explode while dropping off her friend at a nearby business. Pictured: Cops at the scene

A maintenance worker checks mains next door to the yet-to-open Local Harvest Café at Robina on the Gold Coast

A maintenance worker checks mains next door to the yet-to-open Local Harvest Café at Robina on the Gold Coast

Sergeant Matt Howard from the neighbouring police station told media that officers had run across the road to enter the café and turn off the gas bottle. 

Valerie De Jersey heard the explosion and saw the windows of the café explode while dropping off her friend at a nearby business.

 ‘It happened as we drove in,’ Ms De Jersey told The Courier Mail.

‘I just pulled up here and the window just blew out, literally just blew out. They (the cafe owners) ran out screaming for help and I ran over to see what I could do to help.

‘The police ran across and put towels and water on them. They were pretty badly burnt and shaken.’

Another witness who was in a neighbouring building told the Gold Coast Bulletin: ‘A man came out covered in burns, his arms looked like a mess. Another person came out covered too.’  

Police remain at the scene as maintenance workers checked nearby connections to ensure there were no further leaks. 

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