A woman is recovering but still alive thanks to the heroic actions of three strangers who pulled her out of her burning vehicle after it crashed into a pole in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
Rob Reese, 28, of West Orange, New Jersey told NBC10 he was visiting his parents in Mount Laurel Saturday afternoon. As he was driving with his fiancée Stacey Troilo on Church Street shortly before 3:30 p.m., they saw a car collide with a telephone pole, bringing down electrical wires.
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“We pulled over in a safe zone,” Rob said. “I assessed the scene and we found there was a woman in the vehicle.”
After checking to see if any of the wires were in contact with the car, Rob and two other Good Samaritans jumped into action and approached the car as flames began to spread underneath the engine.
“The woman was responsive but completely out of it,” he said. “She just did not even comprehend what just took place.”
After calling 911, the three men pulled the woman to safety across the street. Medics and officials arrived at the scene soon after.
“Typically in situations [like this] we wouldn’t want to touch the person in the vehicle,” Rob said. “You’d want to leave them, stabilize them and ensure that they’re not moving or doing anything until medical services arrive. But this was one of those situations where if you don’t get out of the vehicle and this thing goes, you can lose your life.”
After the rescue, Stacey recorded the vehicle as it became engulfed in flames. Responding firefighters were eventually able to bring them under control. Officials say the woman was not seriously injured.
Rob, who currently works as an IT supervisor, says his experience as an Eagle Scout and lifeguard helped him act quickly during the ordeal.
“Scouts give you a vast array of first responding training,” he said. “How to respond and how to assess the scene and how to take care of people who need care. I would give a large amount of credit to them.”
While Rob encourages anyone to take action whenever someone else is in need, he also says you should always make sure it’s a situation you can handle.
“We’re trained to always call for help first,” he said. “You’re always trained to investigate the scene, don’t just jump in there. Investigate the scene and make sure you’re not putting yourself in danger. [Then] as long as you feel comfortable and you feel up to it, I say jump into it and lend a hand. You may end up saving a person’s life by taking the proper steps.”