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'She just said thank you'; How one man turned into a local hero

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Posted at 10:05 PM, May 29, 2024

APPLETON (NBC 26) — A nearly deadly incident produced a local hero as one man was able to step in when he was most needed.

  • Randall D'Addezio was driving on I-41 when he came across a fiery crash.
  • He jumped into action and saved one woman from the flames.
  • The crash between two semis resulted in no injuries.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story, with additional details for the web)

"Just an average, normal day just driving,” said Appleton man, Randall D’Addezio.

But as D'Addezio neared Highway 15 on I-41 he came upon a startling sight.

"There's diesel fuel floating, sparks everywhere,” he recalled. “Stuff is on fire."

Police say two semis were involved in a crash that led to the fire. A scene that D’Addezio says kicked him into action.

"Grabbed my fire extinguisher, jumped over the median and then I just helped get this woman out of the truck,” D’Addezio said.

An effort that led to the woman leaving the scene with no injuries.

Police had to shut down the highway on Wednesday for cleanup but it has since re-opened.

"Instead of panic, you harness the fear and use it,” said D’Addezio.

He said he never got the woman's name but hopes they will be able to speak again soon.

"She just said 'thank you', she was crying,” D’Addezio told me. “I just said 'that's what I do'."

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating the crash, but police say it was paper bales that initially caught fire after coming into contact with sparks.