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Returning home after giving birth, woman helped save driver from tanker blaze

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Posted at 7:49 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:52:10-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Holly McNally was returning home Thursday for the first time since she gave birth to a baby boy earlier this week when she saw the smoke and knew she had to help.

A tanker truck driven by Jeffrey Denman, 59, of Brownsburg, and carrying 4,000 pounds of jet fuel had crashed on the ramp leading from I-465 southbound to I-70 eastbound.

"Then you see a man run out of the smoke and he was on fire and I said, 'Mom, I'm going,' and she said, 'No, please don't' and I just took off," McNally said.

Denman, 59, of Brownsburg, suffered significant burns and was transported to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition.

McNally said adrenaline kicked in and another man, Mitch Navarre, also ran toward the flames to save Denman.

"He was there on his right side. I got on his left side, and we started walking away, and I am seeing, I am hearing a gush of liquid around us," McNally said. "And I asked what he was hauling and he said jet fuel, and that's when I was like, guys we have seconds to get out of here."

McNally was right. She said they escaped less than a minute before an explosion.

"It was a matter of I am not going to let him pass away because I just had a baby," she said. "You know, this is somebody's baby. He could be a daddy. I didn't want to see a life taken when I just gave life. I couldn't stand there and see that happen. Couldn't do it."

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