Man reunited with stranger who saved him from burning vehicle

Crash happened on Aug. 23

A retired firefighter got to thank a stranger he said saved his life after a fiery crash.

Retired Fire Lt. Richard Broccolo said the crash happened on Aug. 23, 2020, near Seidel Road on State Road 429.

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The family shared photos of the single-vehicle car wreck, showing the car mangled in trees after veering off the roadway.

“I looked up and I said, “Hey, you listen to me. I need you to help me. If you don’t help me, I’m going to die,’” Broccolo said. “I looked down and I saw gas dripping on fire, and I said, ‘This could be it.’”

Corey Purington said he was working nearby when he heard the crash and went over to help.

“A lot of flames. The car was upside down. I just, I saw a hand, so I reached in and did what I could do,” Purington said.

As flames ripped through the vehicle, Broccolo said that Purington pulled him out just in time.

“I told him, ‘Listen, you got to pull me out in the next three seconds, or I’ll die.’ Next thing I knew, I was on the ground outside the vehicle being dragged to an area of safety,” Broccolo said.

The two reunited on Monday night, which also marked exactly three months since the crash.

Broccolo said that he’s thankful Purington jumped in and saved his life.

“He stood up there where flames were coming, reached down, and pulled a 195-pound man straight up, deadlift. That’s a very extraordinary feat and that young man is a real hero.” Broccolo said.

Broccolo’s family shared videos of his recovery after suffering burns to nearly 25 percent of his body, a broken shoulder, and several broken ribs.

Purington said that he didn’t think twice about stepping in.

“Because I knew if I was in that situation, I’d want the same thing to be done for me,” Purington said.


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