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DJ AM: 'I Jumped Through a Fireball'

10/15/2008 at 05:30 PM EDT

DJ AM: 'I Jumped Through a Fireball'
Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein
Kwaku Alston
After surviving a plane crash that severely injured Travis Barker and killed four others, an emotional DJ AM tells PEOPLE: "I'm the luckiest man alive."

In his first interview since the Learjet crashed during takeoff at a Columbia, S.C., airport, DJ AM – real name Adam Goldstein – recounts the terrifying scene, with "fire everywhere."

After his pal, former blink-182 drummer Barker, flung open the emergency exit door, Goldstein recalls, "I tried to cover my face as I jumped through a fireball. As soon as I hit the ground, I remembered, 'Stop, drop and roll.' So I started rolling."

Recovering from the final of three surgeries Goldstein, 35, has undergone procedures to treat his second- and third-degree burns. He says he's coping one day at a time.

"My emotions go back and forth," he says. "I can't believe I made it. I'm just grateful."

To read the full story – including how Goldstein helped extinguish flames on Barker's clothes – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands this week

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