Angels in the Fire reads like a fascinating fictional suspense, however the Stadler’s story isn’t fiction according to police, firemen and other eyewitness accounts. It’s a tale of miraculous intervention after a drunk driver hit their car head on traveling at 75 miles per hour. By the time police and firemen pulled Dann from the burning wreckage there wasn’t time to reach his trapped wife, Tracey.
At that moment “…a silent lone figure” walked from the nearby woods, according to witnesses. Bystanders said the figure, “…his face aglow…” reached into the burning car, lifted the terrified woman from the wreckage and placed her alongside the road. That’s where Tracey’s story begins.
The couple was on vacation in Florida to visit Tracey’s family with their nine-month-old daughter, Meghan. They also planned to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary with Tracey’s twin brother Tommy and his girlfriend. The future looked bright for these twenty-seven-year-old college graduates. They both had landed well-paying post-graduate jobs and recently signed papers on a new home. And the future was bright until a drunk driver turned south onto the northbound Florida freeway they traveled.
Dan has no memory of the impact, only his warning to Tracey when she said she was undoing her seat belt, “…it’s more uncomfortable lying in a hospital bed because you didn’t have your seat belt on.” He couldn’t know how prophetic his words would be.
Tracey, on the other hand, retains vivid memories of being trapped after the impact, of the angel who rescued her and where she went, but has no memory of the crash itself. Only her recall of the intense pain when she opened her eyes and saw “…everything below her waist was crushed…” the car’s engine and dash crumpled against her legs. When she saw rescuers pull Dann through the driver’s side window, her silent prayer, “please, God don’t let me burn.”
That’s when the “lone figure” Tracey would later identify as an Angel appeared. Her memory of meeting Jesus, the “…freedom, the joy…the all-encompassing peace…” still brings tears. She also remembers that Christ healed her face and neck burns, otherwise she couldn’t have survived the severe burns and trauma. And the angel’s final words after he pulled her from the wreckage, “…everything is going to be all right.”
The inspirational testimony of the couple’s years-long recovery from agonizing burn treatments, orthopedic surgeries to repair broken bones and learning to walk again inspires faith and trust in a merciful God. Their ability to forgive the drunk driver who died on impact is an extension of God’s grace in them, as was Tracey’s ability to bear children after her pelvis was crushed.
Tracey’s near death experience, her “…life changing vision of God’s supernatural power…” and their long road to recovery is documented at Dann’s Saturday’s Promise blog: www.saturdayspromise.com/?page_id=261
Besides a suspenseful read, the story of “two lives forever changed” is for anyone who struggles with debilitating circumstances, especially those who doubt miracles still happen today.
‘Angels in the Fire: The Dramatic True Story of an Impossible Rescue’ by Dann Stadler, Bethany House, July 1, 2013, 208 Pages, 978-0764211140, $14.99
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