19-year-old awarded Carnegie Medal after saving man from burning car in Winter Garden crash

Corey A. Purinton, of Homosassa, is one of 17 recent recipients

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – When you think hero, picture a Florida laborer in his late teens.

Nineteen-year-old Corey A. Purinton, of Homosassa, earned the title after rescuing a 62-year-old man from a fiery car crash last year. He is now among 17 recent recipients of North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism: the Carnegie Medal.

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The incident occurred on Aug. 23, 2020 in Winter Garden.

Fire officials said a sedan veered off State Road 429, near Seidel Road, striking a fence and rolling several times before landing upside down on a chain-link fence.

Purinton, who was working nearby, saw what happened and ran over to help as flames broke out at the front of the car, the sedan driver told News 6.

The driver, retired fire Lt. Richard Broccolo, poked his hand out the broken rear windshield as Purinton crawled partway into the car, pulling Broccolo to safety and patting out flames on his clothes.

“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,” recalled Broccolo, when he was reunited with his savior nearly three months after the accident.

Broccolo sustained third-degree burns to his body, in addition to several broken bones and a head injury. Purinton inhaled smoke and suffered burns to his hands, but both men lived.

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.