Special Report | About Face: The Pat Stamp Story

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A fire changed Pat Stamp's life forever. It took away his health, his livelihood, even his looks. Some things in Stamp's life will never improve. His lung capacity is only 50 per cent. Compensation only pays him a portion of what he use to make. He could have hidden his disfigured face from the public. He didn't. He pushed on. Now nearly six years later, Pat Stamp has undergone an amazing transformation. Doctors couldn't repair his face, but a specialist who used to work with the CIA did. We followed Pat Stamp and his wife, Madonna, as they made a trip to Virginia. They gave the CBC unprecedented access to the procedure that changed not only Pat's looks, but also his outlook. And we were there when he made his emotional return home.

Warning: While photos and video detail Pat's recovery, they are graphic, and some people may find them disturbing.

The Accident

Pat Stamp was welding on a ship anchored in Conception Bay, near St. John's, when fumes ignited inside the tank where he was working.

"It was just pure heat. I haven't felt heat like it — 750 degrees on the barbecue is nothing," Stamp said about the blast inside the MV Kometik on April 8, 2006.

Deckhand Wayne Dalton, 38, died of smoke inhalation.

Stamp escaped, but not before the intense heat burned his body, damaged his lungs and disfigured his face.

"I was caught around the rib cage … I was stuck and I was pushing and pushing to get out, and I thought to myself, 'I'm seeing my grandkids grow up,'" said Stamp. "And, after that, I came out of the tank."

Stamp spent months in hospital recovering. His skin is slowly recovering and he’s still fighting a deep psychological wound.

“I have lots of nightmares, not so happy ones, that I have to relive … in the fire, or I'm down in the tank,” he said.

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Pat talks to Curtis Rumbolt in an interview recorded before he went to Virginia to get his new nose and ears. Pat sustained severe injuries when he was burned in 2006. Not only did he have to recover from those injuries, he had to relearn how to walk. He talks about the trauma of his ordeal, and how he is looking forward to receiving his new prosthetics.

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Pat decided not to hide himself away after his accident. He attends conferences and meets with school children to describe what happened to him and the importance of safety

Pat gave the CBC access to a large collection of personal photographs that detail the aftermath of his accident and his recovery. Pat spent weeks in hospital, and has endured many surgeries since the 2006 incident. Warning: Some photos are graphic in nature and some people might find them disturbing.

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