An off-duty New York City firefighter was in the right place at the right time to save the life of a woman trapped in a burning car crash early Saturday morning.
Fresh off his shift with the White Plains Fire Department, Nicholas Perri Jr. was driving home in Brookfield, Connecticut when he saw a car burning just a few feet up the road at about 3:15 am.
The veteran firefighter stopped on the side of Route 7 nearby Junction road and sprang into action, running towards the burning car and risking his life in the process.
“The instinct, the training started and she ran and I did my best to get her out,” Perri said on Saturday, hours after the life-saving rescue.
Without equipment or hose, he entered the vehicle and extricated the seriously injured driver as flames entered the passenger compartment, Brookfield Fire Department said.
“I studied what it was like in there and then I broke the front passenger window. I managed to free one of the legs, the other one was quite mutilated, it was giving me a hard time,” said Perri. “She was yelling, ‘You have to work with me because time is running out here.'”
Volunteer firefighters from EMS and Brookfield arrived on the scene moments later. When they arrive, camera video shows Perri leading the badly injured driver out of the burning car. She was treated and transported to Danbury Hospital.
Perri was also treated at the scene for minor injuries, but refused to be transported.
Chief Andrew Ellis, among the firefighters who rushed to the scene, was surprised to find that the hero was another firefighter.
“I was the first firefighter at the Brookfield location and there was no way the victim would have survived if he hadn’t done what he did,” Ellis told our sister network. News 4.
At the last checkup, the woman was still hospitalized in intensive care.