Burned Alive: A True Story
by David Kenneth Poletz
Trafford Publishing

"I was wearing coveralls, steel-toed work boots, and a hard hat. My hard hat fell off and melted from the heat."

Flowing hot asphalt trapped the author in a small pump building one day in 1992, nearly killing him. Poletz had been working on the maintenance team of Domtar Construction Materials when he was asked to take apart a valve on an asphalt tank. Because of another man's error, air trapped in the machine caused burning hot asphalt to spew forth. Because there was only one entrance to the building, Poletz had to climb on pipes to avoid being burned to death by the flow of asphalt. As he waited for help, he was almost asphyxiated by noxious fumes, which eventually caused him to lose consciousness. By the time workers were able to rescue Poletz, no one believed he would survive his injuries. His heart stopped three times on the way to the hospital, and much of his body was covered with deep burns. The doctors had to amputate Poletz's left leg below the knee and all the fingers on his left hand.

The author describes in detail the agonizing pain he endured during his recovery. The account of his accident, in particular, is action-packed and horrifying, making the book engrossing. Despite the graphic nature of the story, Poletz manages to keep a positive tone throughout, concentrating on his triumphs over adversity, rather than on his losses. Never losing hope through the long months of recovery and therapy, his message is one of optimism and endurance. Poletz's expressions of gratitude at being able to, once again, pursue his passions of hunting and car restoration are touching and inspiring.

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