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A car accident of any kind is a scary experience, but a car accident that turns into a car fire is especially terrifying. Sometimes, these car fires result in injury or death. However, a recent car fire in Massachusetts had a miraculous outcome. A National Guard member saved a woman from a burning car. 

Swerving car gets into an accident and catches fire in Massachusetts

Burning flames shooting out of a car that's on fire
Car on fire | Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Last month in Sterling, Massachusetts, National Guard, Spc. Ryan Leger was driving with his wife, as detailed by Boston 25 News. They pulled their car over to the side of the road near the North Dike Wachusett Reservoirs to take some photographs. When they walked back to their vehicle, Ledger “noticed rocks being kicked up from the ground.” He then saw a car driving at a speed of around 60-70 mph, “swerving and trying to stop.”

The swerving car then “side-swiped two vehicles, bounced off guard rails on both sides of the road, then hit another car with a family inside head-on before hitting the guardrail again and coming to a stop.” Soon after the car stopped, flames started shooting out of the engine.

National Guard, Spc. Ryan Leger rips the door open and rescues the driver from burning car

After seeing the fire, Spc. Ledger sprinted to the burning car. He looked in the car and saw the “driver pushed into the passenger seat.” Ledger then ripped the door open and carried the woman safely away from the vehicle. Afterward, the fire grew even larger and spread to other parts of the car. 

A nurse that was driving also stopped at the scene. She “helped Spc. Leger with the woman until first responders arrived.” Also, Leger “helped direct traffic away from the fire.”

Fortunately, no one involved in the car accident was seriously injured, including the woman in the burning car. According to Leger, the woman stated that “she was grateful to have a second chance.”

“I’m not sure what would have happened if we weren’t there. As weird as it sounds, it felt like second instinct. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t scared. The only thing that went through my mind at the time was, ‘you need to get them out of there now.’”

– National Guard, Spc. Ryan Leger

What should I do if a car catches on fire?

Car fires occur for a variety of reasons. This includes a car accident, mechanical failure, electric failure, or spreading a flammable material too close to a car. If you have a car that catches on fire, there are measures that you can take.

If you’re driving a car that’s on fire, pull over and shut off the ignition as soon as possible. This will stop the flow of gasoline (for non-electric cars). Exit the car and get at least 100 feet away, and don’t return to collect any personal belongings. Call 911 to get emergency services to quickly provide assistance.

It’s advisable for you to let emergency personnel put out the car fire. However, if you decide to try to put it out on your own, make sure that you have a suitable fire extinguisher (approved for Class B or Class fires) and know how to use it. Also, ensure that you can keep a safe distance and have clear access to the fire source. 

Furthermore, never open the hood of a burning car. This lets in more air, which will stoke the fire. Finally, view your surroundings and watch out for vehicle traffic. Don’t stand on a busy road, and again, stay far away from your car. In addition to avoiding the risk of burns from the fire, you’ll want to stay away from your car in case another car hits it. 


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