2 CDOT Employees Help Driver Escape Burning Semi

By Jennifer Brice

DENVER (CBS4)– A fiery crash of a fuel truck along Interstate 25 shut down the highway for hours, causing a traffic nightmare within minutes but in those same moments, it created two heroes.

The fuel tanker caught fire on I-25 in the Denver Tech Center around noon on Wednesday.

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Copter4 flew over the tanker fire on I-25 (credit: CBS)

Two employees with the Colorado Department of Transportation, who were driving the interstate inspecting for potholes and debris as part of their daily duties, were the first on the scene shortly after the fire started.

Matt Bell and Richard Smith, CDOT maintenance employees covering the South Metro Denver area, rushed to help the driver, later identified as Henry Dominguez, and were able to carry him to safety.

cdot worker 2 CDOT Employees Help Driver Escape Burning Semi

Shailen Bhatt, CDOT Executive Director with the two CDOT workers, Matt Bell and Richard Smith, who pulled the semi driver from the burning truck (credit: CDOT)

“It is a heroes actions,” says Ford. “We at CDOT are incredibly proud of all of the employees and obviously these guys are included.”

PHOTO GALLERY: I-25 Tanker Fire

When asked what compelled them to put their own safety on the line, Bell replied, “That’s what all our crews are trained to do.”

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(credit: CDOT)

Bell then went on to explain that everyone on the road was a hero and does not want the spotlight to be on just the two men.

“I would just hope that someone would do the same for me,” said Bell.

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Dave Fretz (credit: CBS)

adway to make the interstate safe and to have all lanes open by the Thursday morning commute.

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(credit: CBS)

“What Matt and Richard did was truly heroic,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT executive director. “They went above and beyond our safety values. Truly, all of our crew members who were out on the roadway last night into the early morning demonstrated determination and a high regard for the people of Colorado’s lives.”

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(credit: CBS)

Most of CDOT’s crew members worked over 12 hours to repair the charred lanes of I-25.

CDOT says they have temporary fixed the asphalt and damages done to the median but now will conduct permanent repairs within the next few weeks. Those repairs will be completed overnight to minimize impact on commuters.

Dominguez’s family released this statement to CBS4: “The family Henry Dominguez wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received.”

Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.

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