Salazar was working at a construction site, when a crane operator hit a power line, and sent 115 thousand volts of electricity through his body.
He immediately burst into flames.
"It happened so fast," said Salazar. "I remember I woke up and looked down and my body was on fire." His arms had to be amputated at the shoulder, and he also lost his legs in the fire.
But a Colorado company called AlloSource, which processes human tissue stepped in, and was able to give him back some independence.
They used human donor tissue and bone to extend his shoulder six inches, which allowed him to operate his wheel chair much easier.
"Manuel is a hero to us," said Tom Cycyota, the CEO of AlloSource. "From our piece of donated tissue, Manuel got a much more functional lifestyle."
"Just that helped me drive my wheelchair without having a joystick in my face. I can scratch my face. I can set myself up," said Salazar.
Salazar, with his positive attitude and new lease on life, will participate on the AlloSource float "Donate Life," on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl Parade.
"I've met a lot of amputees who've lost one arm. They want to give up. I tell them not to give up. There's so much you can do," he said. "I'm happy with my life now. Happy with what I've accomplished."