Jo Robinson, 38, experienced severe burns on her face, chest, hands, lungs, throat, note and even her eyeballs.
The mum-of-three, from Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, was in Chicago to judge a pole dancing competition when the horrific incident happened.
The performer was showing off her fire-breathing skills to her mates around the garden after the event on July 10.
“I don’t know if I was aware that I was on fire”
But when she took a mouthful of camping oil instead of paraffin, her body was lit up in flames.
Delivered properly, Jo would have inhaled paraffin – meaning the fire would have ignited away from her body and presented the illusion she was breathing it out.
She said: “I don’t know if I was aware that I was on fire. I felt really hot and I dropped and rolled to put myself out.
“I was only on fire for three or four seconds, but every second counts, and your skin continues to burn afterwards.”
Jo – who was at serious risk of a heart attack – plunged into her friend’s swimming pool while her pals peeled off her burning clothes and hosed her down.
When taken to hospital, the medics’ immediate concern was the breathing.
Jo was unable to travel home for nearly two weeks because of the risk of breathing difficulties and infection on the flight.
Jo – who owns the Polelicious studio in Ballyclare – believes she had a lucky escape after it was confirmed she is expected to make a full recovery from her burn injuries.
Meanwhile, she faces a medical bill of up to $24,000 (£18,500).
She had insurance for the trip – but the fire-breathing is not covered.
“I’m super-cautious about going near a hot kettle or saucepan,” she added.
“I don’t want to say I’d never fire breathe again out of fear, but I don’t think I will do it again.”
Jo has been advised to take six months off – but as a self-employed pole instructor and performer she says it is impossible.
She added: “I love my work, I don’t like sitting about the house. When I get all the medical bills in I will speak to the hospitals and I’ll have to work something out with them.
“You can’t put a price on life, and I can’t change what happened.”