MONTBELLO, Colo. (CBS4) – Nearly a year ago a house explosion in Montbello left the man who was remodeling with burns over 80 percent of his body, but he kept faith and is working to recover.
It was one spark and a combination of gas and paint fumes that rocked David Beal’s house off its foundation and turned him into a human inferno. Doctors gave Beal just a five percent chance of surviving.
“We saw a gentleman come out and he was on fire,” a witness said at the time of the explosion.
“She was surprised because I was standing there on fire,” Beal said.
“The image of him walking up the stairs on fire from head to toe will be in my head forever,” Beal’s wife said.
She witnessed the explosion. His youngest son didn’t know when or if he’d ever see his father alive again.
“It’s been very frightful and anticipating to see if he’s going to survive or not as the months go I get more confidence,” he said.
There has been an ongoing prayer chain at the family’s church and finally this summer the prayers were answered as Beal got to leave the hospital and go home.
“I was standing there on fire from head to toe,” Beal said.
He remembers it all until the point he lapsed into a four-month coma. He’s endured 28 surgeries and had to learn to walk again after losing part of his foot.
“I look like a troll but I’m okay,” Beal said.
He is scarred physically, but amazingly strong emotionally.
“I wake up and think I’m so blessed to be here. I’m way beyond luck.”
He spends his days with his family and has eight to 10 more surgeries in his future.
“They say they can fix my hands.”
His sons are just glad to have their dad home in any condition.
“He’s the tank. He can survive anything,” his son said.
Beal says the lesson of strength and courage makes enduring last year worthwhile.
“If they can get those out of it I’m happy,” Beal said.
He did not have health insurance at the time of the accident. Those interested in helping the family can donate to the David Beal Fund at the Celebration Community Church, 1650 South Birch Street, Denver, CO, 80222.