INDIANAPOLIS (CBS Local) — A woman who was driving home from the hospital just three days after giving birth to her fourth child stopped to help save a truck driver from a massive fire that shut down two Indiana interstates.
“We see a plume of smoke, huge smoke, it looked like a warehouse was on fire,” Holly McNally told CBS affiliate WTTV.
McNally, 35, was on her way home with her mom when she pulled up on a tanker hauling jet fuel, which had overturned as it was trying to exit from Interstate 465 south to Interstate 70 east.
“I slowed down and I saw the actual semi on fire, and then I looked to the front of the semi and I see a man on fire,” McNally said. “And I’m scanning and people are video taping and watching, but nobody’s running over there. So I told my mom, I said ‘I’m stopping, I’m going over there.’”
McNally and another man both ran to the driver and quickly put out the fire on him before realizing the worst was yet to come.
“We got him out, and we start to walk away and I see this huge stream of liquid and I could smell it,” McNally said. “I said ‘Jeff [the truck driver] honey, what were you hauling?’ And he said ‘jet fuel.’ And I’m like ‘Oh my gosh.”
Three good Samaritans rescued a truck driver after a massive explosion on I-70. For one of those good Samaritans, it's been quite the week. Holly McNally just gave birth 3 days ago! https://t.co/leTknhhVQl #4yourmorning
— CBS4 Indy (@CBS4Indy) February 21, 2020
4,000 gallons of jet fuel was spilling out of the overturned semi and McNally’s shoes were by now soaked with it. The fire was getting larger and the three had to move fast.
“We’re trying to carry him down and it’s getting closer and closer and the second explosion went off,” McNally said. “Smoke was hitting us and I was just like praying ‘God, please let me get out of here so I can see my baby.”
That baby is McNally’s son, Connor, who was born early Monday morning. She had been with him at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Vincent Hospital moments before coming across the crash.
“I thought, what if that’s my son,” McNally said of seeing the driver on fire. “What if that was Connor when he’s 30, would you want somebody to just leave him there?”
Luckily, the three of them made it away from the fire as first responders began arriving on scene.
“My mom was like ‘I can’t believe you didn’t just run away,’ and I’m like ‘I’m not gonna leave somebody,'” McNally said. “I wish everybody was like that you know? I mean everybody should help everybody.”
The 59-year-old truck driver, Jeffrey Denman of Brownsburg, survived but was badly burned and was in critical condition.