FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — A dump truck burst into flames after a crash at the intersection of US 33 and Carroll Road Wednesday.
Tim Vachon says when he saw the smoke and flames, he first thought someone was burning brush. But when he realized it was a truck that was on fire with someone trapped inside, he sprang into action.
“Nobody was down there yet, and I just stopped my van and ran over there and then I yelled at other people, and they said there was a guy in there, but nobody wanted to go down there, and they go, ‘Don’t go down because you’ll get burned up,’ and I said, ‘I can’t do that.'”
Police say the dump truck was headed north, but swerved to avoid another car when it clipped the side of a pickup forcing both into a ditch. The dump truck hit a power pole and burst into flames.
Vachon says he didn’t even have time to turn his car off before instinct took over, compelling him to save the driver trapped inside.
“He’s screaming ‘Get me out! Get me out! Get me out!’ because he knew the truck was on fire and he was screaming for dear life,” said Vachon.
At first, the searing heat kept Vachon back because he couldn’t open the door. That’s when he says the driver kicked out the window from inside and Vachon pulled him out of the burning truck with only moments to spare.
“If it blows, it blows, but you have to try and save that person. It’d be worse to hear them scream to death in flames. I felt I had to do my duty to help him out,” said Vachon.
Vachon says he and another Good Samaritan rescued the driver of the pickup, too. Police tell ABC21 both victims of the crash suffered minor injuries.