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Man rescued from fiery crash

Webster, N.Y. - Three good Samaritans helped rescue a man from a burning car in Webster Monday afternoon.

It happened around 4:30pm at the intersection of Basket and Woodard Roads.

Webster police say a vehicle headed eastbound on Woodard Road, entered the path of a pick-up truck traveling South on Basket Road when the two collided.

 One of the vehicles ended up in a nearby yard and caught fire and exploded.

What happened seconds before that was an act of pure bravery.

Investigators say Lukas Knowlden, Jim Crary and Matt Kowalski helped pull the driver, Brandon Gerritz, 18, from the burning vehicle. 

Kowalski is a firefighter with Union Hill and happened to be visiting his father, who lives up the road from the crash.

"He has a scanner and we were listening and there was a call for a car accident at Basket and Woodard with a car on fire," Kowalski said.

Without thinking about his own safety, Kowalski jumped in, he says praying the entire time. "I was just praying, Lord Jesus help me," said Kowalski. "He was unconscious, the driver and I went in to help. We had to get his legs out, between the dash board, his legs were crushed between the seat and the dashboard."

The men were able to pull Gerritz out. "I'd say in 30 seconds to a minute we were over there and all of a sudden it was exploding," said Kowalski. "It had blackened the sky pretty bad. At first I thought it was rain clouds and then I thought, no it's smoke," said nearby resident Cornelius McGuinness who captured the explosion on his cell phone.

The car ended up a stone's throw away from Mary Ann Hess' front door step. "I've never had an automobile on my lawn - never," Hess said.

She was upstairs sewing when she said she happened to look outside. "I was just amazed, I was just absolutely amazed," said Hess.

For her, the scene was tough to look at. It's a harsh reminder of a life lost. "I lost a daughter, a 19 year old daughter to someone crossing the line and hitting her," said Hess. "I'm hoping that man makes it."

Many residents in that area say that intersection of Basket and Woodard Roads are notorious for accidents, it encouraged some homeowners to start a petition to make it a four way stop in the past.

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Washington Times