AUBURN (CBS13) – A 94-year-old driver was saved from his burning car by a deputy.
“I just wanted to get him out of there as quick as possible,” said Dep. Eric Bakulich.
The Placer County sheriff’s deputy had no time to spare as he sprung into action, making a move that saved another man’s life, and kept an Auburn Shell gas station from going up in flames.
“It got so out of control, all the fuel lines were leaking. It was getting so big, so fast,” said Gas station owner Jeff Morlan.
Morlan’s emotional tank was full after witnessing a heart stopping scene Tuesday night near pump number one.
“You could see fire coming from under the car where the fuel tank started to drip,” said Morlan.
Inside the car was the 94-year-old World War II veteran.
His tire was blown and were sparks flying.
“He said, ‘the car’s on fire, the car’s on fire,” said Morlan.
With his Buick about to blow just inches from a gas pump, a hero was just a few feet away.
“I just wanted to get him out of there as quick as possible,” said Bakulich.
Bakulich saw the sparks and made his move.
“At that point, I told him to get out of the car and he said he couldn’t walk very well,” said Bakulich. “So, I undid his seatbelt for him and got his legs out, and drug him about 60 feet, behind my patrol car.”
The drama didn’t end there. After the man was pulled to safety, flames were everywhere, fuel lines were on fire and flames were shooting high.
“The fire was getting too big to handle; pieces of the car were starting to blow off, shooting like rockets,” said Morlan.
No one was hit by the flying chunks of metal.
The fire was put out, and both Bakulich and the elderly driver escaped without a scratch.
“I guess it was just good luck of me being right there at that time,” said Bakulich.