Mass. Cookout Hero Rescues Woman From Burning Car - NBC Connecticut
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Mass. Cookout Hero Rescues Woman From Burning Car

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    Laura McCaffrey is lucky to have been pulled from her burning car by a man who was at a nearby Memorial Day barbecue and heard her crash in Reading, Massachusetts.

    (Published Monday, May 29, 2017)

    After a fiery crash, a driver is fortunate a man who had been at a nearby Memorial Day barbecue pulled her from her burning car.

    The woman lost control of her car and crashed into a utility pole in Reading, Massachusetts.

    "I cracked open my beer," recalled Brandon Finnen. "And I heard a loud crash."

    Flames started to come from the car. A passenger was able to get out, but the driver was unconscious and trapped with the door locked. Finnen raced to the scene.

    "That's when I took off my sweatshirt," Finnen said. "Wrapped it around my hands, tried to punch out the window, I couldn't get it to break."

    The scene unfolded outside the house of Joan Ripa, who saw Finnen trying to make the rescue.

    "This young boy with his fist is banging, banging the window," she said. "The window wouldn't break."

    Ripa handed Finnen, 25, a baseball bat.

    "I grabbed the bat. I couldn't warn the lady because she was unconscious," Finnen said. "So I just smashed the window, it went all over her, but at that point, I was thinking, 'Get her out alive.'"

    Finnen and another neighbor pulled the woman out and dragged her away from the burning car. He says the driver woke up after the rescue.

    Family members identify the driver as Laura McCaffrey. They say she had a seizure just before the crash.

    "Thank God the neighbor had the bat," said Moses Serrano, the driver's son. "Thank God he smashed the window open ... Thank you to the guy who helped my mother, have to see him and thank him."

    McCaffrey suffered a broken ankle and was undergoing X-rays at the hospital.

    The passenger was her 18-year-old niece. She only sustained minor injuries.