Edmore man hopes to meet heroes who rescued him from burning pickup

They spent five minutes trying to pull 22-year-old Holden Mack from his burning pickup after he crashed last Fall on Highway 2 outside of Devils Lake.

Several heroes were recognized by the Highway Patrol for risking their lives and jumping into the fireball to yank Holden out of his pickup. It took them nearly 5 minutes, including trying to cut Holden's seatbelt.
Matt Henson / WDAY News
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DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — A young man from Edmore, North Dakota, is recovering from severe burns after a fiery crash near Devils Lake months ago. His goal now is to meet his heroes who pulled him from his burning vehicle.

Twenty-two-year-old Holden Mack knows the bravery of several men, who rushed into his burning car to yank him out, is the only reason he's alive today to share his story.

"Readjusting and letting my body kind of (...) recalibrate," he said as he walked around Island Park to break up the trip from the Twin Cities to his home near Devils Lake.

In September, Mack nearly died in a fiery crash on Highway 2 near Devils Lake.

"What's it like when you look at the pictures and see the giant fireball coming out of the car and you are stuck inside?" asked reporter Matt Henson.


"Honestly, it kind of puts a pit in my stomach," replied Mack.

"You don't remember being trapped in the burning car?" asked Henson.

"No, not at all," said Mack.

Mack was on his way to a friends house when he rear-ended a turning truck. He says he only remembers two things, but not the crash itself.

"(I remember) the sensation of being pulled out and me kind of helping myself push out of my vehicle, and then waking up a few moments later, laying in the grass, with one of the guys crouching over me saying, 'You're not dying today,'" said Mack.

Several heroes were recognized by the Highway Patrol for risking their lives and jumping into the fireball to yank Holden out of his pickup. It took them nearly 5 minutes, including trying to cut Holden's seat belt.

He is still trying to reconnect with them to thank them in person.

"(I am) eternally grateful for them as well as my family. I would give the world to meet them," said Mack.


After the crash, Mack spent three months at a Twin Cities burn unit. Half of that time was spent in a medically induced coma. He had life-threatening burns to half of his body.

"Even the doctors said, 'Statistically, you shouldn't be here,' he recalled.

It's still a long recovery for Mack, one that will likely continue for at least a year and a half. He travels to the Twin Cities every three weeks to undergo treatment to repair his burned skin. He also undergoes physical and occupational therapy three times a week at home.

Mack is expected to make a full recovery.

"I should be able to do just about anything I set my mind to," said Mack.

He is quick to point out the community has been a huge part of his recovery with all the love and support.

"When I think about it, I'm kind of overwhelmed," Mack said. "I never thought that my community would come together this much."

Mack says he wears a sweatshirt with a picture of his burned out truck on it after people would stare at him in public, and to show what can happen if you are in a car crash.


A benefit to help Mack with his medical expenses will be held Saturday, May 7, at the American Legion in Langdon, North Dakota, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It includes a silent auction with hundreds of items.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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