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Fire
The thrilling testimony of Allen Buchanek
This is a picture of Allen Buchanek after he had been burned over 50% of his body as a
result of a refinery explosion that took place on April 24, 1962. Some say that it was a freak
accident, but Allen says it was an appointment that he was destined to keep.

The explosion took the lives of two other people, one being a close friend and schoolmate, Judy Taylor. Others were injured.
It all began as the young couple was driving home from a baseball game. As they drove past the gasoline tank farm of what was
then Sinclair Refinery, there was an unusually thick fog over the highway. It was not fog but gasoline fumes that had escaped
from one of the giant storage tanks beside the highway. When the couple drove into the fumes there was a tremendous explosion
that stopped their car and caused it to stall. Not being able to start the engine, and thinking that their own gasoline tank might
explode they jumped out of the car and into the flames, running for their very lives. After falling into a muddy ditch the flames
were finally quenched from Allen’s body. He looks back on that night and remembers how he had wallowed in his sin for 19
years trying to quench the fire that was in his soul. Judy was lying beside the road burned over 90% of her body. The soles of
her feet were the only things not burned on her body. Judy was a top 10 beauty finalist and Miss Personality Plus at the college
where they attended in Pasadena, Texas. A young man who was caught in the fire ahead of them made his way back to Judy and
Allen, and the three of them walked a quarter of a mile before anyone would stop and pick them up and take them to the nearest
hospital. A good Samaritan risked his life driving past the tank that now had flames leaping 300 feet into the air. On the way to
the hospital Allen saw the bones exposed in his fingers and watched the flesh fall off of his arms and into his lap. He thought this
was all just a bad dream, but it turned out to be a hellish nightmare that was to last the next six months of his life.

All Allen ever wanted to do was to play baseball. But that career was over, and now he was going to have to fight just to stay
alive. Because of the constant horrific pain, strong drugs were given to help fight the pain until Allen finally became addicted
to these drugs, which complicated his problems. Judy lived three days and then died on her 21st birthday. The doctors didn’t
expect much more from Allen. Although his burns were not as bad as Judy’s rolling in that ditch the night of the fire created
mass infection and toxic poisoning in his body. These were just two of the things that Allen’s parents were told would take his
life within the first 5 days after the fire.

At that time there were three Houston newspapers. They all carried the story for weeks. Allen and Judy’s pictures were on
the front page. Cards and calls poured into the hospital from all over the area and even outside of the state. Prayers were sent up
not only by those who knew Allen but also by many who would never even meet him. Even though his condition worsened daily,
God would not let him die. Allen regrets deeply that others were involved in the fire, and he knows that he certainly didn’t de-
serve to live any more than the two that perished deserved to die. He is saddened that lives were lost, but he knows that because
of the direction his young life was taking something drastic had to happen in order to change directions.

After six months of being in and out of hospitals, months of physical therapy, and 12 different surgeries, Allen was left
crippled, disfigured, depressed and abandoned by those he once thought to be his friends. It was during two of his surgeries
that death was to knock again. Cardiac arrest took place and Allen was pronounced dead the first time for seven minutes. Dur-
ing a surgery three weeks later, he was pronounced clinically dead for 15 minutes. Both times his primary physician, Dr. Ralph
Colotta, opened his chest and did internal heart massage until God chose to breathe life back into his lifeless body. With tears
staining the mask that covered his mouth Dr.Colotta prayed and asked God for one more miracle. It was said that Allen had
made medical history having been technically and clinically dead for 7 minutes and 15 minutes and sustaining no heart or brain
damage whatsoever. He jokingly tells people that his children disagree with the brain damage part.

Being at home was not as good as Allen thought it would be. His mother couldn’t give him the attention he had been used to
in the hospital. Experiencing the nightmares of the last six months and withdrawals from the drugs he had been on drove Allen
into deep depression. He knew his baseball career was over because he had little use of his hands. Because of his disfigurement,
people felt very uncomfortable in his presence, and Allen became reclusive. Depression made him very suicidal. All desire to
live had left this scarred, embittered young man. He thought suicide was the only way out of this unbelievably painful nightmare
that never ended.
But this was not God’s plan for Allen Buchanek’s life. Before he could be used as the Lord’s servant to take the Gospel to
countries around the world, his rebellious will had to be broken. He had to come to the end of his life. Satan’s plan for our lives
always includes death and destruction. Jesus said Satan was a thief that came to kill, steal and destroy. But Jesus came to give us
life and give it to us abundantly. God may be slow but He is never late. Sometimes He steps in at two minutes until too late.

Three godly women had impacted Allen’s life. 1) A godly mother; 2) A godly nurse; and 3) A godly young woman who,
though she had only known Allen one week before the fire, came daily to minister to him in the hospital. This young woman
was Sharron Grammar. She poured herself into the life of the broken and hurting Allen Buchanek. While Allen was thinking
suicide, she was thinking love, hope, mercy and grace. She invited him to go to church with her, but Allen told her, “Not under
any circumstances.” She finally persuaded him to go, even though there was nothing but hate and anger in his heart toward a
God that he had never really known. Sharron had to come and get him because he couldn’t drive.

The church received Allen with open arms because they had prayed long and hard for him. James Robison and Billy Foote
led the service, and for the first time this poor lost sinner heard the Gospel of hope and salvation. His heart broke as he heard how
a holy God loved sinners like him. Allen couldn’t believe that such love and forgiveness was available to him. But by faith he
opened his heart to Christ and repented of his sins. In a moment Allen rose from his knees a new creature in Christ. Old things
were passed away and all things had become new. The scars on Allen’s body are a constant reminder of the price that was paid
for his sins and of the One who had come to live His life through him. Yes, Sharron Grammar soon became Allen’s wife and
they now serve their Lord and Savior together. She is the godly mother of their four children and grandmother to their eight
grandchildren.

The Allen Buchanek Ministry has been used to take the Gospel across America and to the utter most parts of the earth. Since
that blessed night in September, 1962, Allen has served his Lord as an evangelist, pastor, teacher and missionary-at-large. He
never grows weary of seeing lives changed and transformed by the same power of the one who stepped out of heaven and into
his life. He has never gotten over meeting Jesus Christ and has never been the same sincest the Sherman’s then. He may grow
weary in the work, but never does he grow weary of the work of taking the Gospel of his Savior to the utter most parts of the
earth.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ALLEN BUCHANEK
Allen Buchanek was born January 1, 1943. Since 1962 he has been a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave
his life to Christ at the age of 19 as a result of a horrific refinery explosion in Pasadena, Texas. The explosion took the lives
of two people and left Allen burned over 50% of his body, with the prospects of him being the third fatality. Several others
were injured.

For six months Allen was in and out of hospitals and underwent 12 operations, during which he suffered two cardiac
arrests, being pronounced dead once for seven minutes and another time for 15 minutes. Miraculously, no heart or brain
damage was suffered either time. He was told that he had made medical history.

Depressed, disfigured and suicidal, Allen saw little reason for living. A young Christian woman named Sharron
Grammar, who had known Allen for only a week before the explosion, became a constant source of encouragement all
throughout his hospital experience. She persuaded him to attend her church with her, and there Allen gave his scarred body
and soul to Jesus Christ.

In that same experience, Allen surrendered his life to preach the Gospel of the Lord of mercy and grace who had
forgiven him of his many sins and made him a new creation in Christ.

A year later the woman who had helped Buchanek discover this life changing power became his wife and partner in
ministry. They have served the Lord together since 1963. They have two daughters and two sons who are all serving the
Lord. Both sons are ordained ministers. They also have eight grandchildren.

For the first 23 years, Allen served the Lord’s church as a traveling vocational evangelist and has literally preached
around the world. His ministry has taken him to Mexico, Italy, Korea, Greece, the Middle East four times, and throughout
the United States. He reserves three months out of the year to do his Eastern Europe Mission Projects in the countries of
Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Hungary. He is scheduled to leave for
his ninth trip in March of 2009.

For 18 years Allen served as pastor of churches in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In 2003 he returned to the ministry
of traveling vocational evangelism doing revival meetings, Bible conferences, retreats and pulpit supply (both preaching
and singing).

Since his call to preach in 1962, the Lord has allowed this ministry to touch over 700 churches of all denominations, and
Allen has publically given his thrilling story, “Saved By Fire,” over 1,500 times in churches, stadiums, camps, small groups
and on radio and television as well as 100 school assemblies. It has also been translated into five languages, and over 20,000
copies of this amazing story have been sold and given away.

Allen and Sharron both graduated with honors from East Texas Baptist University and are both listed in Who’s Who in
Colleges and Universities of America. Allen also attended Southwestern Theological Seminary.

While in college, Allen lettered one year in basketball and three years in baseball. From 1974-1976 he was elected by
his fellow evangelists as president of the Conference of Texas Evangelists, which he helped to establish. He has written
one book “Babes in Christ,” and numerous articles, and recorded five music albums. Since 2005, he has served as Staff
Evangelist at New Beginnings Baptist Church, Longview, Texas, where he and his wife now reside. His greatest passion is
preaching the truths of God’s powerful Word and seeing God’s Church become strong and healthy, ever growing in the grace
and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Allen Buchanek ministry desires that people everywhere come to
know the same Christ that changed his life and become committed followers of our soon coming King.

Allen may be contacted at: New Beginnings Baptist Church -OR- The Allen Buchanek Evan. Assoc.
600 George Richey Road 1800 McCord
Longview, TX 75604 Longview, TX 75605
903.759.5552 903-748-0469