VINTON, Va. – A driver stuck inside a burning car made a miraculous escape, thanks to the help of quick-thinking neighbors.
Vinton fire crews are calling a local man a hero after they say he pulled a driver from a burning car to safety.
A broken mailbox, scorched license plate and singed trees are all signs that something terrible happened in this quiet Vinton neighborhood.
"It was scary," Ronald Drain said.
Drain's wife, Amy Drain, and son first heard a crash last week outside their Chestnut Mountain Drive home and knew something was wrong.
A driver hit a boulder and their mailbox, then got stuck in their neighbor's yard.
"As soon as she came out the door, she saw the car on fire," said Ronald Drain.
That's when they called 911. By then, their neighbor had already jumped into action.
"He came out, got the man to roll the window down, took a box cutter and cut the belt off. He got the door unlocked and pulled this gentleman to safety," said Ronald Drain.
Amy Drain rushed over to help.
"She's a former respiratory therapist, so she was checking to see if he was OK and everything," said Drain. When something exploded again, their neighbor shielded Amy and the driver.
"There was some oxygen tanks in the car. Those exploded. He covered her and the gentleman when the tire exploded," said Ronald Drain.
When Vinton firefighters and emergency medical services showed up, the first thing on Lt. Larry Whiting's mind was making sure everyone was OK. Then came relief, when he saw that the driver and the neighbors helping him were alright.
"We take care of the folks first, and then everything else is second," said Whiting. "I was definitely glad."
10 News reached out to the man who pulled that driver to safety, but he didn't want to be identified. Still, fire crews are calling him a hero.