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Retired brigadier general pulls man away from scene of burning semi

'I just hope someebody would do the same for me'

Fire burns on Interstate 80 at the Dubuque Street overpass after a crash involving a semi Friday, May 22, 2015. (photo by Bob Felderman via Facebook)
Fire burns on Interstate 80 at the Dubuque Street overpass after a crash involving a semi Friday, May 22, 2015. (photo by Bob Felderman via Facebook)
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IOWA CITY — A retired Army Brigadier General helped pull a man away from a fiery crash on Interstate 80 Friday morning in Iowa City.

General Bob Felderman said he was traveling to the VA Hospital when a semi drifted off the road and crashed into the Dubuque Street overpass shortly after 8 a.m.

Felderman said he immediately noticed a man with his clothes on fire lying on the ground near the crash scene.

“I thought he was dead,” said Felderman.

Felderman said another truck driver first ran towards the man, and he quickly joined to assist with the rescue effort. The two pulled the man away before the entire area became engulfed in flames, according to Felderman.

“Hopefully we saved a guy’s life,” he said. “It didn’t take ours.”

The Iowa State Patrol said there were two victims involved in the crash, both in the semi. Both people were taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The passenger in the accident, identified as Gary Griffey, 39, died of his injuries Friday afternoon, according to a release from the Iowa State Patrol.

Felderman said during his 36 years with the Iowa National Guard, Army and Air Force he has helped with emergency response, but his mind was fixed on something else.

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“My five year old granddaughter from Florida is coming to visit Sunday, all I could think of is this is really going to make them upset if I get blown up trying to save this guy, but it was the right thing to do,” he said. “I just hope somebody would do the same for me.”

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