Off-duty firefighter saves woman from burning car after crash in Connecticut

BROOKFIELD, Conn. — An off-duty firefighter from New York is being hailed as a hero after he saved a woman from a burning vehicle in western Connecticut early Saturday, authorities said.

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According to a Facebook post from the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company, emergency crews were called at about 3:13 a.m. EST after receiving a report of a single-vehicle crash.

An ambulance was returning from Danbury Hospital from a medical call and arrived on the scene within one minute, according to WVIT-TV. Paramedics arrived and saw a man removing the injured driver from the burning vehicle, according to the television station.

The man was identified as Nicholas Perri Jr., a Brookfield resident who is an off-duty firefighter in White Plains, New York, the fire department wrote on Facebook.

Officials said that Perri gained access to the vehicle, and without the benefit of fire gear or a hose, removed the woman from the car as flames were entering the passenger side, WVIT reported.

“Instinct, training kicked in and ran in and did the best I could do to get her out,” Perri told WNBC-TV on Saturday. “I assessed how she was in there and then I broke the front passenger window. I was able to get one of her legs free, the other was pretty mangled -- it was giving me a hard time.

“I was just yelling, ‘You got to work with me because we are running out of time here.’”

The woman was taken to an area hospital, according to the television station. Perri was treated on the scene for minor injuries and refused to be taken to the hospital. The jacket he was wearing was burned from the fire, firefighters said.

“If not for the courageous actions of Mr. Perri, the operator would have burned to death in her vehicle,” the fire department wrote. “His actions are a testament to him, the White Plains FD, and the fire service as a whole.”

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