Man panhandling near I-70 rushed to save people from fiery Lakewood crash

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A man who was panhandling before the fatal crash and fire in Lakewood Thursday is being recognized as a hero for rescuing people from the wreckage.

Darin Barton was holding a sign asking drivers for help at the Denver West exit of Interstate 70 when he heard the crash.

He said a semitrailer crashed into cars and the cab of the truck rolled over.

"As soon as it rolled over, it just caught on fire. And I just dropped my sign, took off running," Barton said.

As Barton ran down the embankment toward the freeway, people escaping the flames were heading the opposite direction.

"As soon as I [saw] flames, I headed under the bridge, grabbed three or four people out of a couple cars," Barton said.

He said he was in good company; there were other good Samaritans working to rescue people.

"I didn't do this all myself. There were other people in traffic that helped," Barton said.

Barton said he has been homeless since July 2014, when he said he was injured in an accident involving a light rail train and a car in Denver.

"I just did what I hoped anybody would've done if I was sitting down there," he said during an interview with FOX31 anchor Aristea Brady.

How to help Darin Barton

An Amazon.com Wish List with various gift cards has been established for Barton. Purchasing an item will send it to FOX31*, where we'll make sure it gets to him.

Click here to see the wish list. 

* Please choose FOX31 Problem Solvers as your shipping address at checkout.

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