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Allen Buchanek Ministries
Saved by Fire....The thrilling testimony of Allen Buchanek
The picture viewed on this page is that 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 as a result of the fire. 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. But it was not fog but rather it was 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 cause it to stall. Not being able to start the engine thinking that their own gasoline tank might explode they jumped out of the car and into the flames and ran 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 it reminds him of 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 only thing not burned on her body were the soles of her feet. Judy was a top 10 beauty finalist and Miss Personality Plus in 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 6 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 horrific pain that never stopped strong drugs were given to help fight the pain until Allen finally became addicted to these drugs which complicated his problems. Judy Taylor lived 3 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 2 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 3 Houston newspapers and 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 by those who not only 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 but he knows that because of the direction his young life was taking something drastic had to happen in order to change directions. He is saddened that lives were lost and he knows that he certainly didn’t deserve to live any more than the 2 that perished deserved to die.
After six months of in and out of hospitals, months of physical therapy and 12 different surgeries Allen was left crippled, disfigured, depressed and abandoned by those who he once thought were his friends. It was on 2 of his surgeries that death was to knock again. Cardiac arrest took place and Allen was pronounced dead the first time for 7 minutes. Three weeks later he was pronounce 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. Going through withdrawals because of the absence of drugs and the nightmares of the last 6 months drove Allen into deep depression. His baseball career was over because he had little use of his hands .He became reclusive because people felt very uncomfortable in his presence because of his disfigurement. 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 he 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 although 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. So while Allen was thinking suicide she was thinking love, hope, mercy and grace. She invited him to go to church with her but Allen said “ no” under any circumstances. But she finally persuaded him to go although 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 4 children and the grandmother to their 8 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 since then.