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Good Samaritan pulls man from burning car in New Brighton

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A quick-thinking good Samaritan saved a man's life when he pulled him from his burning vehicle on Interstate 35W in New Brighton Sunday, according to State police.

“[Robert Renning] did an extraordinary deed, bending a locked car door in half of a burning car to extricate a trapped person,” Trooper Zachary Hill said. “I feel this man deserves any and all commendation for his extraordinary life-saving measure that kept another from burning alive.”

Around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, while driving down I-35W, Renning noticed Michael Johannes' vehicle was on fire, so he flagged him down.

When they pulled over, Johannes' vehicle was engulfed in smoke and the electric locks and windows had stopped working, trapping him inside. Johannes tried to kick the windows out of the car, but failed.

Renning ran over to the car, and with his bare hands, bent the framing around the window (see picture above), shattering the glass, state police said. He then pulled Johannes to safety.

"I'm still not sure exactly how I did it, but I got my fingers behind the door frame on top and started pulling the glass, and it shattered. I pulled him out through the window and onto the grass," Renning told the Star Tribune.

“It certainly saved the man’s life,” State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske told the newspaper. “It was a heroic deed by Mr. Renning.”

State police said Johannes suffered minor smoke inhalation and a few cuts from being pulled through the window, but he's otherwise fine. Renning wasn't injured.

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