Hero pulls a man alive from a burning car in Hamden

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Tom Paranzino is a hero, although he doesn’t feel like one.

Late one recent night on Whitney Avenue, Tom ran over to help the driver of a car that was on fire. The car had just slammed into a pole then flipped over and went up in flames. Tom ran across the street — without hesitation — racing towards the fire. He reached into the car and grabbed the driver — saving his life.

“I heard people screaming that someone’s in the car and I just ran over there,” he said.

Turns out, Tom is a Hamden firefighter and the accident happened right across the street from his station. He was off duty and asleep at the time. He woke up and ran out without fire safety gear on. His fellow firefighters say something like this is in his DNA.

“It’s in his nature,” said Dave DeMarest. “It’s something he’s accustomed to doing. If somebody’s in trouble he runs to wherever the trouble is.”

Tom is getting some attention for his heroism. But he just considers this all in a day’s work.

“It all happened so fast, there wasn’t much time to think about it,” Tom said. “We love our job. We just do it.”

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