Five men recently took action to pull a couple in their 90s from their burning car on the side of a freeway in California.
“It happened so fast, we just reacted immediately. There was someone needing our help, and there was no one there to help, so we are thinking, ‘wow, this is going to explode soon,’ as the fire was near the gas tank,” Good Samaritan Jeff Lucas told CBS 8.
The group saw the car fire on Labor Day afternoon in the westbound lanes of Interstate 8 in Lakeside.
“Oh my God, somebody’s in there,” Marie Macrorie was heard saying while filming the scene with her phone as the men who had parked on the median ran over to help.
The clip showed the car’s rear end engulfed in flames when a man in a black shirt pulled the driver out and the others appeared to move the passenger away from the vehicle:
INCREDIBLE RESCUE: An elderly couple was pulled to safety by several Good Samaritans as their car was engulfed in flames…
The men are from the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC) located in El Cajon and were traveling when they stopped to assist the couple.
“We just saw this guy, and he is stuck in his seatbelt, so we kind of snatched open the door, and unbuckled the seatbelt, my buddy Barry snatched him out of the car and carried him to the side of the road,” Andre Leggett recalled.
Barry was in the hospital on Tuesday suffering from a burned arm after the rescue.
This evening Lakeside units responded to reports of a vehicle fire on the westbound lanes of I8 just east of Lake Jennings. A bystander was able to capture the moment 2 other bystanders rescued the 2 elderly occupants from the burning vehicle. The 2 occupants and a bystander were transported with burn injuries. The fire extended into the vegetation but was quickly contained. Video credit Marie Macrorie.
Posted by Lakeside Fire Protection District on Monday, September 6, 2021
Meanwhile, no one was more thankful than sons Steve and Mark Williamson whose parents were in recovery at UCSD Medical Center.
“Our dad had some burns to his left side. My mom got out with just abrasions. We are just so grateful, these guys are heroes to us and to our parents for stepping up immediately, and that is phenomenal,” Steve Williamson noted.
Ken and Joan Williamson were on vacation in San Diego from Phoenix when their car was hit from behind and caught fire.
5 Good Samaritans from the @eastcountytlc pull a couple in their 90s from Phoenix out of their burning car on I-8 to safety on #LaborDay. The elderly couple is recovering from burns in the hospital along with 1 of the Good Samaritans who got burned on his arm. @CBS8 @LakesideFire pic.twitter.com/fDvePzB1A5
— Heather HOPE (@HopeNEWS8) September 8, 2021
According to its Facebook page, ECTLC offers transitional living programs that fit the needs of most homeless families or individuals.
When asked why the group performed such a brave rescue, Harry Hemphill said, “There was a time when like so many, I would have, we would have kept driving. But because of programs like ECTLC, we’re — I’m changing, and in that change now we’re able to not just be selfish individuals but look out for others.”