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Florida firefighter falls off bridge into river while rescuing woman from fiery crash

An off-duty firefighter in Florida fell off a bridge and into the St. John’s River while rescuing a woman from a fiery crash. 

Orange County Fire Rescue Lt. John McNally said he’s lucky he survived plummeting nearly 40 feet down into the river. 

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He said he was heading to work about 6:40 a.m. Friday when he saw the crash. 

“I saw one vehicle scrape a concrete barrier and then burst into flames,” he told WFTV

According to a report, Zachary Daniels, 30, crashed into Rhonda Nagy, 54, causing her vehicle to catch fire.

McNally said he pulled on his gear and he and Daniels rushed to help Nagy. 

He said her door was jammed against the bridge. He put one foot over the barrier hoping to pull her to safety, but he fell over the bridge.

“About halfway down, I realized I was falling and I just braced myself to hit the pavement,” he said. “I was so relieved to hit the water.”

He and Daniels, who also fell in, swam to safety, WFTV reported.

“He (Daniels) deserves more credit than I do because I’m trained for this,” McNally said. 

McNally said he was surprised and grateful that everyone survived. “Miraculously, no injuries. I can just equate it to pure luck,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s astonishing.” 

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

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