SALEM, N.H. – An off-duty firefighter from Salem was in the right place at the right time Tuesday to help save the lives of three people after a car crash.
Michael Galipeau was leaving work at the Salem Fire Department Tuesday night when he decided to travel home a different way than normal and take Route 111 though Windham.
That decision might be one of the best decisions he ever made.
This @SalemFD firefighter decided to take a different way home from work last night. Little did he know, he would end up playing hero. Working on a great “above and beyond” story for @boston25 10/11 tonight pic.twitter.com/VVrSiHsXYY— Jacob Long (@JacobLongTV) February 28, 2018
“I have no clue. Can't tell you. Divine intervention? Can't say. All I can say is right before I rolled up to the crash, I said it was going to take 15 minutes longer to get home,” he said.
Galipeau ended up being one of the first people on the scene of a crash so severe one car had burst into flames with an unresponsive woman still inside.
“When I got on scene, I realized the fire was growing in nature. When I did that quick assessment, it doubled in size,” he said.
JUST IN: statement from family of woman pulled out of burning car by @SalemFD: "We would like to thank everyone involved that helped our mother. From the good samaritans, to the first responders. It will be a long recovery and thanks to everyone involved she is still with us."— Jacob Long (@JacobLongTV) March 1, 2018
Without any of his protective gear, Galipeau worked with other bystanders to cut the woman from her seatbelt and get her to safety.
“I asked if anyone had a knife. Luckily that person that provided the knife probably saved her life,” he said.
The heroic actions weren’t over yet though. Two other cars were involved in the crash, and another victim was still trapped in one of them.
“He was going home to his wife and children and to come across something like that and go into work mode, it's commendable,” Salem Fire Chief Paul Parisi.
But if you're to ask the man of the hour, he'd say the other good Samaritans on scene deserve some of the credit too.
“Luckily all the pieces came together. I was just one piece and they were the other pieces and with teamwork, it all worked out,” Galipeau said.
All three victims taken to local hospital and are expected to be okay. Galipeau himself was treated for smoke inhalation but he’s doing just fine.
The family of the woman rescued from the burning car issued the following statement.
"We would like to thank everyone involved that helped our mother. From the good Samaritans, to the first responders. It will be a long recovery and thanks to everyone involved she is still with us."
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