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SUV was in flames on Minnesota highway. Strangers saved the driver.

Kadir Tolla was driving on Interstate 94 in St. Paul, Minnesota, when he saw an SUV next to the guardrail. Flames were shooting out and a passenger was trapped inside.

“I decided to park the car, get out and try to help,” said Tolla, 35, who runs an activity center for seniors with his wife and regularly transports clients. He was on his way to meet one when he saw the fire.

Tolla wasn’t the only motorist to stop. Around ten other people got out of their vehicles and ran towards the fire which broke out around 6:30 p.m. on April 18.

“It was very, very scary, but I was numb,” Tolla said. “There was a man in there who couldn’t escape the fire.”

He said neither he nor the others who rushed to help knew the person inside.

“All we knew was that there was a human in that car and we decided to take action,” Tolla said.

“There was no hesitation,” said Lacie Kramer, 32, who also ran from her car to help. “It was pure adrenaline.”

Tolla said his vehicle has video recording capabilities that he often keeps to capture any break-ins or accidents. His car recorded the chaotic scene, as people ran out of their vehicles and desperately tried to open the doors of the burning SUV. The guardrail prevented the doors from opening fully.

“Everyone was doing their best to get this man out of the car,” Tolla said. “These were people who risked their lives to save another.”

A man began spraying what appeared to be a fire extinguisher, while Tolla grabbed a piece of debris from the side of the road and used it to try to open the driver’s side window. The flames were blowing into the faces of the rescuers.

“There was a point where I thought we weren’t going to be able to get him out,” Kramer said.

A Minnesota Department of Transportation employee arrived on scene and managed to break the window. The group of motorists then forced the driver out, feet first.

“I was so happy,” Tolla said, adding that everyone was relieved that the man was unhurt.

The Minnesota State Patrol identified the driver as Samuel Orbovich, 71, a St. Paul resident. Lt. Jill Frankfurth said Orbovich’s Honda drifted to the right of the highway and hit a light pole, then the guardrail, before catching fire. Although no injuries were reported, the driver was transported to the regional hospital for evaluation.

“The State Patrol is grateful that the driver is OK thanks to the heroic actions of the individuals who stopped to help him,” Frankfurth said. “The actions of those who pulled this motorist from the burning car demonstrate the importance and desire of people across Minnesota to look out for each other.”

In a statement to the Washington Post, Orbovich thanked the people who rescued him.

“I am alive today because several good Samaritans and professional first responders saved my life. Fred Rogers said that whenever someone sees something scary, “look for the helpers.” You will always find people who help you,” Orbovich wrote.

He said his airbag deployed after his car hit the lamp post and guardrail. “I arrived just before a roadside assistance officer opened my window and everyone pulled me to safety,” he said.

Orbovich, a lawyer who has represented Minnesota caregivers for decades, called the rescue effort “incredibly heroic” because people chose “to put themselves in harm’s way by running toward the flames to pull a stranger from a car on fire that could explode at any moment.” .”

“My family and I are incredibly grateful to these heroes,” Orbovich said. “I can’t wait to thank them all in person.”

Tolla said such incidents – strangers supporting each other – happen more often than people think, but are rarely caught on camera.

“We come together when we need help,” he said.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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