Good Samaritans save elderly woman from car fire

Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 20:11:45-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two Good Samaritans were able to pull an elderly woman out of a burning car that was pinned between two vehicles in Clarksville.

Around 3 p.m. December 16, five vehicles were involved in a fiery crash according to police. As a former firefighter and paramedic, Sergio Carrillo sprung into action when he realized an elderly woman was trapped. He was on his way to get supplies for a baby as his wife is expected to give birth this week.

"I saw that something was wrong because people were waving and screaming and crying," Carrillo said, "So I grabbed my tire iron, and ran across the street, and I saw another gentleman pointing towards the car so I gave it all I got, and I broke the car passenger side window because the car was pinned in between two other cars bumper to bumper and they were all fully involved at this point."

Carrillo cut his hand on glass as he struggled to pull the woman out. Around the same time, army veteran Dee Brinkley ran up to help him.

"I pulled her out. We just laid her here on the sidewalk because cars usually don’t explode, so I thought she was safe, but we put her down, and then literally a couple seconds later, the car exploded," Carrillo said.

According to Clarksville police, the fire was so intense it burned pieces of metal into the roadway. Reflecting on what happened, Brinkley said it feels surreal.

"It was extremely hot, the heat was just so intense," Brinkley said, "I didn’t think that we were in imminent danger at that time when we were there, but I mean hindsight 20/20 all three of us would have been burnt extremely bad."

They're left wondering how a fender bender turned into a full-blown fire ball.

Carrillo said, "Cars usually don’t catch on fire after minor incidents."

Brinkley and Carrillo are thankful the elderly woman is surrounded by family as she recovers at the hospital. As the elderly woman processes the traumatic experience, her family does not want to release her identity. They issued a statement:

The actions of Sergio and Dee means everything to our family. This would be a much different holiday season had they not stepped up and risked their lives to save a stranger. Our family believes God put these brave men with first responder and military training in the right place at the right time. Their bravery was the best Christmas present ever and we look forward to meeting our heroes in the near future!

Police have not released the findings of their investigation.