Hero Firefighter From Brookfield Tells Harrowing Tale of His Car Fire Rescue
Nicholas Perri is a firefighter in White Plains, a Brookfield native and now, a hero.
On Saturday (11/26/22) Perri pulled a woman from a burning car in Brookfield. She was the victim of a fiery wreck that would have killed her, if not for Nick's brave actions. In the days since, Perri has become a hot commodity in the media world, doing guest segments on shows like Fox & Friends.
We asked him to do our show (The I-95 Morning Show) and he agreed, joining us on Wednesday (11/30/22). We were honored that he'd join the Ethan, Lou & Large Dave Show to tell us his story, in his own words.
Tell us what happened?
"It was around 3, 3:15 AM, I'm traveling down Route 7 North, I live right down there, off Exit 12. I noticed one vehicle, a little off the road with it's hazards on. So, I slowed down a little and said, this is a little weird at this time. Then, directly after that vehicle, there was another vehicle stopped and that woman waved me down, pretty frantically. At this time, I didn't even see the car off the ravine into the woods. I look over to my right to see the car on the right, thinking that there were people in the other car, and she said, no, there is someone trapped in that other vehicle. Already, at that time I looked at the car, already all the brush around it, the engine compartment, most of the driver's side was already decently involved in the fire already."
You're out of the car, you have a decent idea of what you're looking at and so everyone knows, you are a firefighter by trade?
"Yeah, I've been on the job in White Plains, NY, ten years now and I was born and raised in Westchester. Immediately, training kicked in and I wanted to assess, how she was. First take, I looked at the condition of the vehicle and I was not expecting a positive outcome but I saw her actually kind of move.
She was slumped over the passenger's seat and she was pinned in there pretty bad. So, I was able to find like a log or something and I broke the rear passenger window first. I was trying to peak in and get a little better understanding of what her condition was and how she was pinned and I got a better angle, that way, anyway.
Then I had seen the fire was rapidly taking over the entire inside of the car at that point. So, I took the front passenger window and I was able to basically, like Superman in there, horizontally and got one of her legs free and turned her whole upper-body towards the passenger window, to get her face and upper-body away from all that fire.
The second attempt, I went in there, her right leg was giving me a problem, that was the one that was pretty mangled in there. Then my jacket ended up catching fire, I took that off and I started tugging on her.
She was in-and-out of consciousness, kind of alert, moaning, grunting so I kind of told her, listen you better start working with me here because we have not a lot of time left. I kind of stepped back again and I did one big last gasp, covered a little bit of my face with my right arm, I went back in and I was able to actually get her sneaker off which was wrapped by the brake pedal.
That gave me a little more room and I got one shot, and I pulled her other leg out. Then I was able to muscle her up and over the center console, got her up, backside out, halfway out the window. I was exerted at that point, I had no energy left, I said, you know what, I'm just going to have to, I'm 200-something pounds, I'm just going to have to fall back and hopefully, she comes with me. So, I just went right back on my backside and she came flying out the window with me."
Nicholas's amazing story had everyone stopped in their tracks at our office. As he was telling us his story, I was getting goose bumps, Dave and Ethan had their mouths open in amazement and I saw some of the office workers glued in place, as they listened to the speakers in our office hallway.
You can tell Nicholas is a great person. Something stuck out to me early in the interview. While we were discussing how amazing it was, that he (a firefighter), happened to be there just as this was happening, he said, "right place, right time."
Nicholas wanted to be there, he wanted to help, and because he did, a young woman survived a fire that would otherwise killed her. It's an amazing story, no matter how you slice it. This is the kind of bravery we need more of.
There is a whole lot more to this story. You can listen to our entire interview with Nicholas below. In the full interview we ask about the media response, about the victim and we manage to find out if Nick is single, or spoken for. That is over-simplifying things a bit, I made several statements about his current relationship status and pointed out that things could get really interesting, real soon.
I was prepared to ask Nick about the condition of the victim, when he offered to us, that he did not know. Many of the news reports mention that she was taken to the ICU, at a local hospital.
I reached out to Brookfield Fire Department Chief Andy Ellis to find out if anymore information has been released on the condition of the victim. He said not a lot of new information to share with the public.
He told me that she is a 21-year-old female who was admitted to the ICU, had multiple fractures and 3rd degree burns. As awful as all of that sounds, I'm sure that her family is relieved she's alive and thankful to Nicholas Perri. We wish the young lady a speedy recovery, and a long life.
It's important that I mention the bravery of the Brookfield Fire Department as well. After Nicholas rescued the young woman, there was still the matter of a raging fire in the woods and B.F.D. were the ones to extinguish the flames.
Below is a video of us, interviewing Nick, if you're into that sort of thing.