First responders and civilian save man from burning car

Regional News

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — It was the combined effort of a collection of heroes — a firefighter, state trooper, police office and a good Samaritan — that saved the life of a man on Saturday after a car caught fire.

“None of this happened without Mr. Symonds. If it wasn’t for Mr. Symonds, him jumping out, doing what he did, helping first responders, this would have been a different story,” said Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth.

The good Samaritan, of Canandaigua, was driving on Saturday evening around 5:30 p.m., when he witnessed a car go off the ravine and into an embankment off Western Boulevard and catch fire.

Symonds then called the police, and ran down and began to pull the man from the burning car.

Firefighter Ben Cramer was on his way to pick up his daughter and drove past the incident, when he heard the report of an accident with someone trapped.

“I radioed that there was a car in the ravine and it was smoking. Somebody yelled that there was somebody trapped in the car.”

State Trooper Christopher Braun and Canandaigua Police Officer Anthony Catalfamo were also nearby when the call came in and quickly arrived on scene.

Cramer, Symonds, Braun and Catalfamo all worked together to pull the man from the car into safety.

“If he hadn’t been there to stop and help,” Cramer said.

Cramer said that he originally didn’t see the incident and wouldn’t have turned around if he didn’t hear the report of the accident.

“I have fire gear on so I’m protected when I pull this person out. The state police, city police, Mr. Symonds they just have flammable clothing. So them going in their to save this person’s life is a little different.”

“It’s a tremendous job what a civilian did to help us out.” Catalfamo said.

According to involving first responders, the car was about 25 to 30 yards well off the roadway.

“You can definitely hear how it was an emotional scene, we only have seconds,” Cramer said.

“The car had gasoline all around it and the victims injuries were pretty severe so we had to work quickly. We’re very fortunate the outcome was as it was.”

“I can’t say enough about their actions. We’re proud of everyone involved. Saturday changed because of the decisions that were made by Mr. Symonds,” Hedworth said.

According to Hedworth, the fuel line may have been damaged as it went down the ravine.

The cause of the investigation is still under investigation.

The man was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment and is expected to be okay.

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