Off-duty firefighter hurt after pulling driver from burning vehicle

Four people, including the off-duty firefighter, were injured and one of them was airlifted to a hospital

By PaulTennant
The Eagle-Tribune

WINDHAM, Mass.  — An unidentified off-duty Salem firefighter pulled at least one person from a burning vehicle Tuesday evening and treated other people injured in a crash on Route 111, according to Salem Fire Battalion Chief John Brackett.

Four people, including the off-duty firefighter, were injured and one of them was airlifted to a Boston hospital. The firefighter suffered smoke inhalation.

The firefighter had just ended his shift at Station 2 in Salem and was on his way home when he encountered a traffic jam, Brackett said. When he saw the smoke billowing from the vehicles that had crashed, he pulled his car over to the side of the road and went to work, Brackett said.

He pulled the unconscious driver from one vehicle and began triaging victims, Brackett said. This enabled other responders to know exactly what kind of injuries they were dealing with, he said.

Windham police officers and firefighters went to the scene and the Salem Fire Department was called in at 5:56 p.m.

Brackett said the unnamed firefighter, who is trained as a paramedic, may have pulled other people from inflamed vehicles.

The off-duty firefighter, working without turnout gear or equipment, was treated at Lawrence General Hospital for smoke inhalation, Brackett said. He was released and "is doing well," he said.

Two victims were transported to Lawrence General. One victim was airlifted to a Boston hospital. A third victim was sent to Parkland Medical Center in Derry.

The firefighter's identity has not been released because his family members have not been notified. Brackett said this man will most likely be honored once all the facts of the accident are sorted out.

"We're calling him a hero," he said.

Copyright 2018 The Eagle-Tribune

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