Retired firefighter reunites with stranger who saved him from fiery crash

ORLANDO (WKMG) - A grateful retired firefighter reunited with a stranger he says saved his life by getting him to safety after a fiery car crash in Florida.

Retired fire lieutenant Richard Broccolo recalled the moment Aug. 23 he thought he was going to die after his car went off the roadway on Florida State Road 429. Family shared pictures showing the car upside down and mangled in trees.

Corey Purington, left, and Richard Broccolo reunited three months after Purington saved Broccolo from a fiery car crash in Florida.
Corey Purington, left, and Richard Broccolo reunited three months after Purington saved Broccolo from a fiery car crash in Florida. (Source: Laura Broccolo, WKMG via CNN)

But Corey Purington, a stranger, heard the crash while working nearby and went to help.

“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.

As flames ripped through the car, Broccolo says Purington pulled him out just in time.

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

Broccolo faced a long recovery period, including more than a month in the hospital. He suffered burns to nearly a quarter of his body, a broken shoulder and several broken ribs. But he says he’s thankful for the man who jumped in and saved his life.

The two reunited last Monday, exactly three months after the crash.

“He stood up there, where the heat and smoke and flames would be coming, reached down and pulled a 195-pound man straight up, dead lift. That’s a very extraordinary feat, and that young man is a real hero,” Broccolo said.

Purington says he didn’t think twice about stepping in to help.

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

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