A Yuma man rescued two-year-old and three-year-old girls from a burning car on the side of the road just moments before the car burst into flames on a remote highway on Arizona’s Navajo reservation Thursday night.
The Good Samaritan, Sam Heiler, 30, said he was driving to a Memorial Weekend getaway Thursday evening with his wife, Melissa, on a remote highway in Navajo County, Arizona, when the engine of a car ahead of theirs caught fire. He pulled over when the flames rose.
Heiler said the parents of the two girls got out of the front seats of the car and shut their doors, and for an unknown reason all of the doors instantly locked, making them unable to open the doors to get the girls in the backseat.
“The parents were freaking out, screaming and punching the windows with their bare hands, both the back windows in front of the babies,” Heiler told Fox News Digital, but the parents were unsuccessful in breaking in the windows.
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“They had about 20 more seconds until the fire spread from the engine block to the cab. The girls were screaming, the parents were screaming, my wife was screaming—it was bad. When the fire hit the fuel tank it made a legitimate fireball explosion.”
“Dad followed suit, but from the panic, attempted to throw rocks at the back windows where the girls would have been covered with glass and a heavy rock had it broken through. All the while, the flames had now spread to completely covering the front hood of the car, and the two- and three-year old are screaming,” she said.
Sam threw a rock through a front window, breaking the glass to open the doors from the inside.
“Once the doors were open, Sam helped unbuckle them from their seatbelts, help Mom and Dad remove them from the car, and bring them up to where we pulled over about 30 yards up the road,” she added.
Sam Heiler said the area had no cell phone service, but he eventually flagged another driver down using a glow stick he keeps in his car, and asked them to call 911 when they regained cell service – about 25 miles further up the road.
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Tribal police and firefighters eventually arrived at the scene. Heiler says that for hours afterwards, the forest in Navajo County had spot fires running through it from the car fire they had to put out.
Melissa Heiler said that her husband’s initial instinct was to keep driving after seeing the car pull over.
“But, in that same instant, something came over him, and he felt like he had to stop and see if he could help.”
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“Divine intervention, no doubt in our minds,” she said.