A woman was trapped inside her burning car on the Outer Loop of the Beltway Wednesday morning until some good Samaritans came to her rescue.
After being rear-ended by a tractor trailer, 27-year-old Vanessa Linares' Jeep Wrangler caught fire. She couldn't get out, though, because her legs were pinned under the dashboard. Evan Werner and John Brown, who were in a vehicle nearby, saw the Jeep on fire and knew they had to help.
"The only thing going through my mind was 'There's probably someone stuck in that car. I've got to get to it,'" Werner said.
He said the Wrangler was on fire and "crushed like a beer can." Brown grabbed his fire extinguisher while Werner ran to the Jeep. With the fire raging, the doors would not open, so Werner had to find another way inside.
"As he's putting the fire out, I'm on the hood, ripping open the canvas top, trying to get in," Werner said. "I saw the girl screaming 'Help me!' and we tried pulling her straight out."
"We had just split seconds," Brown said. "Because when we got her out, I mean, it just went up. The black smoke. The cloud. It was completely in flames."
Werner and Brown took Linares about 50 yards away from the accident and put her down on the ground. They covered her up with blankets and coats.
"She was pretty much screaming in pain at that point," Werner said. "Her lower back hurt. She couldn't feel her feet."
She was taken to an area hospital with serious injuries to be evaluated.
Werner said he drives the same type of Jeep as the victim, and that's how he was able to get her out so quickly.
The pair said they don't consider themselves heroes, but were just doing what they had to.
"I would hope somebody would do the same thing if I were trapped, or he were trapped," Brown said.