Coast Guardsmen rescue driver from burning semi truck

ALABAMA (WKRG) – A fiery crash involving a semi-truck could have turned deadly if it weren’t for four Coast Guardsmen whose selfless and quick-thinking actions saved the driver’s life.

The four men, ENS Robert Quintana, ENS Andrew Nielsen, CWO Paul Rotolo and CWO Ben Wagner, were driving to a vessel inspection appointment when they saw the semi-truck in front of them swerve, hit another truck and flip over.

Rotolo said they immediately pulled their car to the side of the road, and he called 911. Meanwhile, the other three men rushed over to check on anyone inside.

When they got close enough, they could see oil and fuel leaking from the truck and the cab was ripped wide open. Inside, they found the unconscious driver slumped over, covered in debris.

Quintana said that’s when things went from bad to worse. They noticed flames quickly spreading in and around the cab.

They grabbed the driver and quickly dragged him away. 30 seconds later, they said they heard an explosion and turned to see the entire truck engulfed in flames.

While they waited for paramedics to arrive, they administered first aid to the driver as he regained consciousnesses. Once he was awake, he asked over and over again if he was dreaming. He also told them he had a brother who had died sometime ago in a car crash.  Rotolo said when he heard that, he was so grateful they were in the right place at the right time.

The humble heroes said they were just doing what they were trained to do as Coast Guardsmen. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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