In 2003 Joe Kinan was caught in a horrific fire that killed 100 people, including his girlfriend, Karla. Joe tried to save her, shielding her body from the flames. It was a heroic but futile act. Karla died and Joe’s own body was badly burnt.
Joe never expected to survive that day. But he did. Now, 15 years later, he is a proud father with a very important message to share – ‘never give up and never quit’ especially on love.
You may remember reading about it – the Station Nightclub fire. Nearly 400 people were crammed into the Rhode Island venue to watch rock band Great White perform. However, the concert’s special effects sparked a fire.
Amidst the panic, 132 people escaped uninjured. Another 230 survived, but with injuries. And 100 died.
One of the survivors was Joe Kinan. Joe shares his heroic journey on his website as well as through a number of videos on YouTube.
Nightclub accident causes devastation
“The nightclub was way over capacity,” Joe recalls. “Realising quickly what was going on I made my way from near the front row to the nearest exit. In an effort to protect Karla, I placed my leather vest over her.
“As we made it towards the exit people fell in front of me and then on top of me. Karla suffocated and did not survive, but she was not burned.”
Joe’s heroic act left him exposed to the fire as he remained trapped near the exit.
“I was conscious throughout the entire ordeal. I could hear everything going on around me. The sounds of yelling were quite loud. Then it grew quieter and quieter. Then it was just me.”
Joe was severely burned in the accident with the flames barely leaving any parts of his body untouched. He lost his hands, eyes and ears in the fire. He was in a coma for three months, followed by many months in hospital before he could go home. He had to relearn how to eat, shower and even tie his shoes. Since the accident Joe has received more than 122 surgeries to reconstruct the damage done.
“I will continue to have surgeries for the rest of my life.”
Love after near death
Joe didn’t expect to find love again after the accident. But love found him. Her name was Carrie Pratt and the pair met at a World Burn Congress in Vancouver in 2007.
Immediately the pair hit it off and they welcomed their daughter, Hadley, in April 2014.
Seeing Joe with his daughter and Carrie, it’s clear to see that they are his everything. The proud dad has made it his mission to teach Hadley the importance of perseverance, tenacity and resilience.
Hadley’s arrival even prompted Joe to brave additional surgeries to try and fix what the fire had stolen from him.
“I went into surgery to receive a hand transplant – so now I can feel my baby daughter’s soft hair,” he says.
“Nobody knows what’s coming in an hour or two or five. I’m just determined to be the best dad I can be.”
Joe Kinan isn’t the only inspirational dad whose story we’ve shared at Mum Central., Have a look at this dad who got super fit for his kids. And now we’re drooling.