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Heroes Save Woman From Burning Vehicle in Smithtown

Commack firefighter and LIRR engineer save the life of 20-year-old Alyssa Marie Fox.

Commack firefighter Matthew Monahan (left) and Joseph Moscato, of Centereach, rescued a young woman who was trapped in her overturned burning car early Saturday morning. Photo Credit: Steve Silverman
Commack firefighter Matthew Monahan (left) and Joseph Moscato, of Centereach, rescued a young woman who was trapped in her overturned burning car early Saturday morning. Photo Credit: Steve Silverman
Alyssa Marie Fox is alive today thanks to Matthew Monahan and Joe Moscato. 

Monahan, a Commack volunteer firefighter, and Moscato, an engineer for the Long Island Rail Road, pulled Fox, 20, from a fiery crash in Smithtown early Saturday morning. 

The crash occurred on Route 347 near Veterans Memorial Highway. Both Monahan and Moscato, who was an EMT for 25 years and also a former member of both the Centereach and Babylon fire departments, were passing by and spotted the crash and fire.

They stopped to render assistance as they arrived at the scene from opposite directions. Monahan was able to open the driver's door and reach the Fox as Moscato used his fire extinguisher to hold back the flames.

Just as the fire was spreading into the passenger compartment, Monahan and Moscato pulled Fox safely from the vehicle which was totally engulfed in flames within 30 seconds. 

The Smithtown Fire Department responded to extinguish the fire and transported Fox to the hospital. 

Fox's grateful parents sent the following letter to the Commack Fire Department: 

In the early morning hours of Saturday March 8, 2014, our daughter, Alyssa Marie Fox, found herself veering off route 347 and striking a tree. She was alone, frightened, disoriented, badly injured and in a vehicle that was on its side and had ignited.

While in fear that she would die there alone, a voice and a shadow appeared in the cold night. It was the voice of who our family now calls her guardian angel and hero, truly sent from above, Matt Monahan, a Commack Volunteer Fireman & an ER nursing assistant, at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Matt was the fourth person on scene. Two teenagers and an MTA worker, who with his fire extinguisher from his car, bought Matt and Alyssa approximately 60 extra seconds, to free her from what would have been certain death. The MTA worker, who has not been identified and is also an angel and hero, held the driver’s side door open, while Matt reached in and told Alyssa exactly what to do to free herself.

He was direct, calm and comforting, everything you would want a person to be in a situation like this. He told Alyssa she didn’t have a lot of time to get out and that they needed to move quickly. He grabbed her with both arms, Alyssa with a compound fracture of the right leg, fractured left clavicle and thumb and several fractured vertebrae and ribs, and pulled her through the car to safety, far enough away as not to be burned from the inferno of the vehicle. 911 was called and Matt gave Alyssa his cell phone to call her mother.

Alyssa is one of six children, from a very large and close knit family. While awaiting surgery, to fixate the right leg, Matt Monahan walked into Alyssa’s room. There were hugs, tears and so many thank you's, that just didn’t seem enough, for what he had done. Matt would not take the accolades and merely said “I don’t consider myself a hero, I was just doing my job.” We told him with all due respect, you are our hero and on that cold March night you did much more than “just your job.” You put yourself in danger for another human being.

Although that is the job of a fireman, Matt could not have been prepared for what he would stumble upon, on his drive home that night. A call did not come in through the fire house. He did not board a fire truck with protective gear and several firemen to assist him. He had no tools other than the fire extinguisher that the MTA worker had and his shoes that he had on, when he tried to kick in the windshield. This situation goes far beyond that of doing your job. This takes the pure core of human spirit and a gift that is in born and nurtured with training to be a firefighter and a profession as a caregiver & healer.

Matt did not worry about his safety, but instead worried about the well being of our daughter. Matt told us, he was not leaving that car without her. These are words that will resonate in our hearts forever. How blessed we are as a family that Matt & that MTA worker took that route home on March 8th, 2014. How different our lives would be today, if not for these men.

How truly blessed your fire house is to have a man like Matt Monahan, to call their brother. Sir, it is with sincere thanks and eternal gratitude that our family reach out to yours and share an extremely heroic event, that has changes us forever. We thank you Matt Monahan and all who helped that night to bring our Alyssa Marie home.

With gratitude, Scott & Laura Fox
Rollo Tomasi March 12, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Outstanding...
Stevo March 12, 2014 at 10:47 AM
We hear the word hero thrown around a lot these days, but these two guys define the word. Nice going gentleman!!
Emily quagliata March 12, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Matt and Joe, we call people like you angels of the heart. God Bless you and everyone else that helped on the scene !smithtown residents are proud to have live in our area ! Alyssa your family will heal your. Recovery will much love.God be with you !
Angelique Darrigo Daley March 13, 2014 at 06:53 AM
Beautiful. Thank God!

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