Man Burned in Boat Fire Recovering, Says He Is Very Lucky

Bart Lopresti and his family were on vacation from New Jersey, spending the month on his boat out on Hendricks Isle in Fort Lauderdale.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bart Lopresti was recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Burn Unit on Tuesday, just under a week after flames engulfed his 40-foot boat and his body. Lopresti and his girlfriend, Fabiola Ajudelo, discussed the fire. (Published Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013)

    Bart Lopresti was recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Burn Unit on Tuesday.

    "When you spill a little oil on your hand, and that really ticks you off for the next week or so, make that twice as deep, on 33percent of your body. It's just intense," said Bart Lopresti as he described the pain he's in from his hospital bed.

    Cleaning and dressing the wounds has been the most painful part of his day since last Wednesday, when flames engulfed his 40-foot boat and his body.

    "We just made it. I Thank God that I didn't get knocked over. It would have dazed me, everything worked out for the best," Lopresti says.

    Despite the gauze, and the pain, he is at peace. He was able to rescue his 4-year-old son Chase, and boy's mother, Fabiola Ajudelo.

    "I was thinking he was dead. And then I see him, walking around and I said oh my God, he's alive," she said.

    Lopresti and his family were on vacation from New Jersey, spending the month on his boat out on Hendricks Isle in Fort Lauderdale. That morning, he smelled fumes and went into his engine room to check it out. He says that when he sprayed water into engine compartment, the damage had been done.

    "It totally exploded right in front of me.  It lifted up every floor board, lifted up the kitchen cabinets, and blew up all the windows in the boat," Lopresti said.

    His girlfriend and son were in one of the bedrooms.

    "When I wake up it was because he was crying. I guess I never wake up to know what happened because I don't remember when he take me out," said Ajudelo.

    After the explosion, Lopresti found his family sitting underneath the hatch. He put the flames on his nylon shorts out with his hands, and then ran to his family. They safely made it out just before flames swallowed the boat.

    "I think he's doing wonderful cause he's strong," said Ajudelo about her boyfriend's recovery process.

    Lopresti's back got the worst of the burns. He may require a skin graft.

    He must rely on the public for help. Without medical insurance, he expects to rack up over $1 million in bills. The family is asking those willing to help to do so by clicking here.

    Even in this state though, Lopresti is still counting his blessings.

    "I'm a very lucky man. The pain that I was going through, is getting now much better. I can never imagine my son having to go through a quarter of that, let alone her."