BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - There were heart-stopping moments for a woman stuck in a burning car, but a passing firefighter helped keep it from turning into a tragedy.
A Friday morning commute on the Beachline turned into a rescue that could rival any action movie. Orange County Fire Rescue Lt. Jason McNally was off-duty, driving home after pulling a night-shift, when he saw the burning car, with a woman trapped inside.
“I saw one vehicle scrape a concrete barrier and then burst into flames,” McNally recalled.
On or off duty, Lt. McNally is always a lifesaver. “You do things that you do every time you run these call that for us, I can't say routine,” McNally admits, “but we're trained to do this.”
Two cars crashed into each other on the bridge over the Saint John’s River. McNally, working with another driver, managed to pull the victim from her burning car. While they were doing this risky rescue though, they both stumbled, falling nearly 30 feet from the bridge into the chilly river, below.
“The next thing I thought was, 'Oh no, I'm gonna hit the concrete, hit the pavement. You have no idea how relieved I was to fall into the water. I had trouble swimming - it was really cold,” he said, “it took my breath away.”
They swam to the shoreline, then trudged back up the bank. When they get back up to the crash scene, they found that the woman they’d pulled from the inferno had survived with just a few scrapes and bruises.
“It's unbelievable,” McNally said, “it's astonishing.”
Highway Patrol says everyone walked away with minor injuries. They say the crash is still under investigation.