CDOT workers run to burning truck to help driver

Video shot by witnesses shows one of the CDOT workers sprinting toward the burning vehicle just as the driver jumps out.

KUSA - Two CDOT workers are being praised for their heroic actions after a truck crashed on Interstate 25 and caught fire Wednesday afternoon.

Matt Bell and Richard Smith happened be on a maintenance patrol on the highway.

"We often think of police and firefighters as first responders but often times when there's a crash a lot of our men and women are the first ones there as well," said Shailen Bhatt, executive director of CDOT. "I'm just incredibly proud of all the men and women of CDOT."

Video shot by witnesses shows one of the workers sprinting toward the burning vehicle just as the driver jumps out. The worker helps drag the man to safety as the flames start to intensify.

"We saw smoke in the distance and thought it may have been a blown out tire," Smith said. "It wasn't until we were able to get closer that we realized the seriousness of the situation and ran to help. Bell was the one to run to the driver and I helped set up traffic control to stop vehicles from passing the fire."

CDOT tweeted a photo of the men posing with Bhatt. Neither wanted recognition for their actions.

"That's what all our crews are trained to do," said Bell. "I would just hope that someone would do the same for me."

 

A former firefighter also helped rescue the driver. Dave Fretz was a firefighter with West Adams County for 6 years.

"It was a like a surreal thing, something you see in a movies and I've never seen that before, or been behind an accident like that where something catches fire so quick," Fretz said.

He was scared but believes his instincts and training kicked in.

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"All I could think about was him [ the driver] . And the CDOT guys they pulled up in front of me and thank God they were there. Like I said it was really, it was quiet except for the explosions and it was really weird there was three of us in the middle of the highway trying to get one guy out of a truck."

The injured driver, Henry Dominguez, was taken to Swedish Hospital in ambulance that also happened to be in the area when the crash happened.

RELATED : Best routes around I-25 closure

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