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Retired firefighter reunites with the Good Samaritan who saved his life

A retired firefighter was reunited with the Good Samaritan who saved his life after he was trapped in a burning vehicle in a catastrophic car wreck in Florida.

The horrifying crash that put Lt. Richard Broccolo in the hospital with severe burns and at least four broken ribs happened on August 23 near Winter Garden. 

Broccolo was driving down State Road 429 near Seidel Road when his vehicle suddenly veered off the roadway and into a nearby field. It’s unclear what caused the crash,

The vehicle flipped numerous times before landing upside down on a wire fence and nearby trees, completely maimed as flames grew to frightening heights. 

Retired firefighter Lt. Richard Broccolo (right) was rescued by Corey Purington (left) after a terrible car crash on August 23 in Florida 

Broccolo was driving down State Road 429 when his vehicle suddenly veered off the roadway and crashed into nearby trees (pictured)

Broccolo was driving down State Road 429 when his vehicle suddenly veered off the roadway and crashed into nearby trees (pictured)

Good Samaritan Corey Purington was working nearby when he heard the crash adn rushed over to help Broccolo

Good Samaritan Corey Purington was working nearby when he heard the crash adn rushed over to help Broccolo

‘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 News 6

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

Meanwhile, Corey Purington was working nearby when he heard the crash and rushed over to help.

‘A lot of flames. The car was upside down.’ Purington told News 6. ‘I just, I saw a hand, so I reached in and did what I could do.’

As the vehicle was quickly engulfed by the flames, Purington made the daring save with no time to spare.

‘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 told News 6.

Broccolo was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was administered for one month and treated for numerous injuries.

Broccolo (pictured) was administered to Orlando Regional Medical Center for one month and was treated for an array of crash-related injuries

Broccolo (pictured) was administered to Orlando Regional Medical Center for one month and was treated for an array of crash-related injuries

Pictured: Richard Broccolo (wearing gray, left), Corey Purington (wearing orange, right) and family reuniting over a meal after the August car wreck

Pictured: Richard Broccolo (wearing gray, left), Corey Purington (wearing orange, right) and family reuniting over a meal after the August car wreck

 But on November 23 – exactly three months after the single-vehicle wreck – the two men came face-to-face once again.

Photos shared online showed the men dining at a local Florida restaurant with Broccolo’s family.

The duo were all smiles as they embraced, making a lifelong bond between two former strangers.  

‘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 told News 6.

Despite the praise, Purington has remained modest about the good deed, writing on Facebook: ‘I’m no hero just someone who was there at the right time.’ 

‘Let us decide that fact my friend,’ Broccolo responded. ‘We know the definition of hero and you fit the bill thank you again I am here because of you!’

The car was unsalvageable after the August 23 crash, in which is flipped numerous times before crashing into nearby trees

The car was unsalvageable after the August 23 crash, in which is flipped numerous times before crashing into nearby trees

While at ORMC, Broccolo suffered from a broken scapula, four broken ribs that caused an hemothorax and burns on more than 30 per cent of his body – an amount considered potentially fatal.

Thickness burns were visible on his left leg, right leg, abdomen, and back.  

‘He has a chest tube placed to allow the bleeding out and is having blood transfusions to keep him running,’ Broccolo’s son, Keith, told friends on Facebook on August 24. 

‘He has multiple pulmonary contusions causing blood in the lungs and level 1 airway burns from inhalation.’ 

Pictured: Video footage from the August 23 crash shows plumes of smoke billowing into the air and emergency crews at the scene

Pictured: Video footage from the August 23 crash shows plumes of smoke billowing into the air and emergency crews at the scene 

At one point, some of Broccolo’s burn became infected and infiltrated his bloodstream.  

Miraculously, he had no internal bleeding or head injuries from the crash. He was discharged on September 25.  

Purington said there wasn’t a doubt in his mind about saving Broccolo, per News 6

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


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