Retired Florida Fire Chief Meets Good Samaritan Who Saved Him From Burning Car

The fire that engulfed the vehicle of retired Lt. Richard Broccolo on Aug. 23, 2020
Facebook Keith Broccolo/DOT

A retired Florida firefighter who normally is the one making the rescues had his own life saved when a good Samaritan saved him from a fiery crash. Last week, Lt. Richard Broccolo was lucky enough to personally thank Corey Purington for coming to his rescue near Seidel Road on State Road 429. Their reunion came exactly three months after the Aug. 23 crash.

Corey Purington told News6 Orlando that he was working nearby when he heard a crash and saw fire and roaring flames.

“The car was upside down,” Purington recalled. “I saw a hand, so I reached in and did what I could do.”

As the flames raged and ripped through the vehicle, Broccolo, a retired fire lieutenant who is used to dangerous situations, managed to instruct Purington on what he needed to do to retrieve him from the burning vehicle.  

“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 told News6 Orlando. “I looked down and I saw gas dripping on fire, and I said, ‘This could be it.’”

He added: “I told him,’ 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.’

Purington said he didn’t think twice about stepping into danger to pull Broccolo from the burning car. Broccolo, who spent weeks in the hospitals with burns to nearly 25% of his body, a broken shoulder and several broken ribs, called Purington, “a real hero.”

“He [Purington] stood up there when there were flames 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.

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

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