‘True hero.’ Truck driver pulls man and dog from burning car on I-95

Assistant Chief George Gomola said crews responded to the southbound side of the interstate by Exit 19 around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday for a multivehicle crash with a car on fire.

Marissa Alter

Mar 30, 2023, 10:21 PM

Updated 425 days ago

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Fairfield fire officials are calling a truck driver a hero after a dramatic rescue on I-95 that saved a man and his dog.
Assistant Chief George Gomola said crews responded to the southbound side of the interstate by Exit 19 around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday for a multivehicle crash with a car on fire.
“We found out that a truck driver from Maine was the true hero in this. He had stopped when no one else had. He used his tractor-trailer to protect the scene. He went up to the vehicle that was starting to burn,” Gomola explained.
Charlie Lane, a trucker for 34 years, told News 12 he’d been on his way to New Jersey after making a delivery in Boston when he came upon the burning car and noticed there was no one standing nearby.
“I stopped because nobody was checking the car, and when I opened the door to the car, there was a man. And the flames were starting to get pretty big,” Lane explained. “I had a hard time getting him unbuckled. I mean, he was kind of dazed and confused, but I was relieved when I heard that seatbelt thing release.”
Lane admits he was scared but still pulled the driver out and away from the car.
“While I was dragging him out, I see something moving in the back. It was a dog,” Lane recalled.
Lane then went back for the dog too, a German shepherd named Stella.
“The fire spread very, very quickly. There were people on scene that tried to extinguish the fire with portable extinguishers and were unsuccessful which made the actions of the tractor-trailer driver that much more heroic,” Gomola said.
The driver was rushed to the hospital while Fairfield Animal Control checked out Stella and kept her for the night.
“If he hadn't helped, the situation would've been very, very different,” Gomola told News 12. “He made a difference.”
“It was just the right thing to do. I done what I'd want someone to do for my family,” Lane explained. “I’m no hero.”
The wife of the man who was pulled from the car gave News 12 the following statement:
"My husband and I are eternally grateful to the truck driver who was there last night to help him and our dog. God bless him, we are overwhelmed by his bravery and courage. He is definitely our hero and angel. We also wish to thank all the emergency crews who were on the scene so quickly, and Fairfield Animal Hospital for taking such good care of our shepherd. My husband is currently in the hospital recuperating and is doing well."
She told News 12 her husband has a broken clavicle and broken ribs while Stella is doing fine.
Connecticut State Police are investigating the crash and did not have a summary report yet on what happened.


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