INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Three good Samaritans came to the rescue of a truck driver after a massive explosion on the far east side of Indianapolis. For one of those good Samaritans, it's been quite the week.
"We see a plume of smoke, huge smoke, it looked like a warehouse was on fire,” said Holly McNally.
McNally had just driven up on the scene with her mom when they came across a turned over semi truck. McNally couldn't believe what they saw.
"I slowed down, and I saw the actual semi on fire, and I look 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 no one was going over there. So I told my mom ‘I'm stopping, I'm going over there.'”
McNally got out of the car and ran towards the truck, where another man put the fire out on the driver. When they finally got the fire out on him, they realized there was another problem as they watched the fire continue to spread on the truck.
"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 (truck driver)… what were you hauling?' And he said ‘jet fuel.'"
4,000 gallons of jet fuel were spilling out of the overturned semi, and McNally's shoes were 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 praying like ‘God, please let us get out of here so I can see my baby.”
That baby is her 3-day-old son Connor. Not 3 months old, not 3 weeks old... 3 days old. He has been in the NICU at St. Vincent since Monday, and McNally had just been there with him 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’s 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. McNally hopes her actions, and the actions of the 2 other good Samaritans, will inspire others to act.
“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 was badly burned and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Trucking company Jet Star Inc. released the following statement on Friday about the crash:
We would like to thank everyone for the amazing outpouring of support, prayers and concern for our driver Jeffrey “Duke” Denman following yesterday’s tragedy involving one of our trucks on the east side of Indianapolis. We are grateful that no one else was injured or involved. We would also like to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to the brave “Good Samaritan’s” that rushed to aid our driver and help him escape from further harm. We would also like to thank all of the first responders and various public safety agencies involved, firefighters, EMS, EMA, law enforcement and INDOT.
Thank you for your continued support and thoughts and prayers for our driver.