Off-duty FDNY lieutenant recounts rescuing man from burning car on Belt Parkway in Brooklyn

Michelle Charlesworth Image
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Off-duty FDNY Lieutenant saves man from burning car in Brooklyn
Michelle Charlesworth has more on the FDNY Lieutenant who rescued a man from a burning car on the Belt Parkway.

BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A father and one of New York's Bravest is being hailed a hero for doing what firefighters do: risking their own lives to save someone else's.

Around 3 a.m. on Saturday, FDNY Lt. Richard Cannon rescued an unconscious man from a burning car on the side of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Cannon saw the crash, called dispatch and jumped out to help.

"We felt the heat of the fire, the guy next to me, the EMT, was hurrying me up to try and get him out. We got him out and put him on the grass," Cannon said.

The lieutenant recognized the burning blue Corvette immediately. The car had just flown by him in an apparent race with a BMW.

"My wife and the kids were in the car. They sped by us and we felt the car do a little tremble as they passed," Cannon said.

The burning car was not just a random light blue Corvette that crashed and caught on fire. Cannon says the incident provided an important lesson about the rules of the road and dangers of reckless driving.

"My wife even spoke to my son that night about it, said it was like a teachable moment not to drive like an idiot on the parkway," Cannon said.

In the heat of the moment, this could have been his family. Cannon says he believes any first responder would've reacted the same way.

"That's what we thought about after the fact, and I would hope that any cop, fireman, EMT who saw that, even a civilian, would stop and do the same thing that I did," he said.

Cannon says he didn't mean to be out so late.

His 6-year-old and 7-year-old had fallen asleep at a birthday party. They were going to spend the night with family friends, but decided to get on the road once the kids woke up.

There is no word yet on how the driver of the Corvette is doing.

The three men in the BMW in the same crash didn't need help, but if they did, Cannon said he would have jumped in.

"I don't think any one of us are ever off duty," Cannon said.

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