Firefighters thanked for saving precious American flag after man’s truck suddenly burst into flames

The flag was a gift to the man from his younger brother.
July 21, 2018 4:22 pm Last Updated: July 21, 2018 4:22 pm

Without taking much time to think about it, what would you save if your home or vehicle caught on fire?

Perhaps you’d race to grab sentimental items or important documents. Or maybe you’d forgo your expensive laptop and rush to get your beloved pet.

There is no right or wrong answer—it’s a personal decision. But your choice can give a hint at what you believe is important in life.

“The flag meant something to me, you know?” Cory Gallagher told WHAM.

Gallagher was driving home near Rochester, New York, around 9 p.m. in the beginning of July 2018, when suddenly his pickup truck burst into flames.

(Screenshot via WHAM)

“All of a sudden I hear a whoosh and it goes up in flames,” he said. “In a split second decision, I had to decide to stay in the truck and burn with it or get out.”

Vehicle fire in Henrietta

WATCH: A firefighter escapes injury as he tries to save an American flag from a vehicle fire Monday in Henrietta.Video courtesy: RXY-374 ProductionsFull story:

Posted by 13 WHAM ABC on Monday, July 9, 2018

Gallagher barely had enough time to save his own life, let alone anything else in his truck.

By the time he was able to call 911, he knew his truck was a loss, but he hoped emergency personnel would be able to rescue something that meant a lot to him—the American flag on the back of his truck.

The flag was a gift to him from his younger brother.

(Screenshot via 13 WHAM ABC/RXY-374 Productions)

When the Henrietta Fire Department arrived, Gallagher’s truck was engulfed. Intense flames shot out of the front and thick smoke billowed into the air.

“I knew I had time before the fire made it back to that end,” Lieutenant Jared Guhl said. “I made sure the wind direction was blowing in the right way and I wasn’t inhaling any smoke.”

(Screenshot via 13 WHAM ABC/RXY-374 Productions)

Guhl approached the inferno and attempted to grab the American flag, but seconds later the rear window burst, making the situation too dangerous.

Although he was unable to bring the flag to safety, The Stars and Stripes survived, albeit singed and tattered.

(Screenshot via WHAM)

Gallagher credited the hardworking firefighters with saving it.

“It’s sad, but it’s still here,” Gallagher said. “That’s the thing that matters right now, is this flag is still here.”

(Screenshot via WHAM)

According to WHAM, Gallagher, who plans on enlisting in the United States Army, wants to frame the burned flag as a symbol of overcoming adversity.