A man who lived through a fire so horrific that it burned 70 percent of his body overcame the fear of fire that he has had since childhood to become a firefighter.
Terry McCarty, 29, who is originally from Hawthorne, Nevada, suffered third-degree burns, lost part of his fingers and thumbs, and required 58 operations after his entire body was engulfed in flames at the age of 6 as the result of his brothers setting a bowl filled with kerosene on fire, reports the Daily Mail. He was bullied as a child and called "Freddy Krueger," but has not allowed his negative experiences to determine his life.
In 2011, McCarty applied to become a firefighter in Washington state and was accepted in April 2012. In order to achieve his goal, he had to confront fire for the first time since the incident as part of his training. He says that, at first, he was unable to move and felt the way he had when he was six.
"But I think it helped," McCarty said of the training exercises, according to the Daily Mail. "In the end -- I started to realize the fire didn't control me. Why should I let fear take over my life?"
McCarty worked as a firefighter for two years, until he found his true calling: working with children who are burn victims. He quit the force and began working with the Burned Children Recovery Foundation at Camp Phoenix, which is located in Bellingham, Washington.
"Fire robbed me of my childhood -- I wanted to give these children a chance to experience being a kid -- even for a short time," McCarty said.
"Nothing like this program has been done before," he continued. "It's going to take a lot of work, but being able to support people who suffered like I did will make it all worthwhile."
Approximately 450,000 people receive medical treatment for burn injuries each year, according to the American Burn Association. An astounding 69 percent of victims are male and the majority of fire-related injuries (72 percent) occur in the home.
McCarty now lives in Washington and says he has remained close to his brothers and that there is no resentment among them following the tragedy.
Photo Credit: WikiCommons, HotSpot Media via Daily Mail