'Hero' mum delivers own baby, helps save man from truck fire days later

Photo: NBC News / YouTube
Photo: NBC News / YouTube 

A mum of four who had given birth only days earlier, didn't hesitate when she saw a fuel tanker in flames after an accident, risking her own life to save the driver from certain death.

Holly McNally, 35, was on her way home with her mother from visiting her newborn son, Connor, in hospital when she saw the fiery wreck.

She had only just dealt with an emergency of her own, after she gave birth in an emergency room with only a nurse and her mother  by her side.

"My mother watched me put my hands down there and pull little man out and lay him on the belly," she told People.com, adding that Connor will be home soon after a short stay in NICU.

McNally, who also has 15, 12 and 8-year-old children said, "I pulled over on the side of the road," she said. "I see people videotaping and watching what is going on, so I knew something big was happening, but I wasn't sure what."

She jumped out of her car and saw a semi-trailer "just engulfed in smoke" and "a man running out of the smoke, covered in flames. Head on fire, hands on fire."

Indiana Fire Department reported that the semi was carrying more than 15,000 litres of jet fuel when it made contact with a roadside guardrail. It had overturned and caught fire and was set to explode when Ms McNally saw the man alight emerging from the tanker.

She decided to respond.


"I look at my mum and I said, 'I'm going over there because nobody else is doing anything,'" she said. "And [my mum] looked over and told me 'don't run' and I was gone."

Of her compulsion to help, she said, "It's human nature to not run towards danger," she explains. "But for me, it was the opposite. I was like, 'I brought a life into this world, and I get to go home and see my baby and this man could be somebody's dad or somebody's child and I want him to make it home to his baby too."

"I guess mom- and gut-instinct," she told the Indianapolis Star

She recalled that she "managed to run what seemed like a mile" before reaching the man called Jeff.

With jet fuel covering her legs and feet from her run, "I asked him what he was hauling and he told me jet fuel and I was like, 'Honey, we've got to get out of here. I've got a newborn that I want to get home to and I'm sure you have family that you want to get home to.'" 

"His skin was dripping, he had no hair, his lips were gone," she continues. "And I just told him, 'It's okay, you're alive, you're breathing … you're gonna be okay," she said. 

McNally and another helper identified by NBC affiliate WTHR as 50-year-old Mitch Navarre - who arrived with a coat to smother the flames

The pair ran the man to safety with an explosion engulfing the exact spot they had been standing on moments before.

"It was that quick, between being here and not making it home to my babies," she recalled to WTHR.

While it would have been understandable if he had remained a bystander, McNally told People there was no option but to help.

"I was like, 'When is the time that I stop?' and I'm like, 'Well, Holly, there is no time to stop.' You don't give up," she said. "You don't run away and leave this man here. You don't do that. That's inhumane to me."


Photo: IFD News / Twitter

"Don't get me wrong though, I was scared," McNally shared.

"I remember saying, 'If I go to heaven, at least I'll go over doing a good deed.' I'm hoping my children are taken care of. That's what kept me going, getting back to my kids. That was my driving force."

"It could've ended so differently," she continued. "Everything lined up perfectly — the right people, the right time."

She added, "Kindness goes a long way. … It doesn't have to be saving somebody's life, but anything that you can do for someone to help them in any way, make sure you do it."