Officer, good Samaritan rescue woman from flame-engulfed car



A good Samaritan and Lake Crystal police officer are being hailed for pulling a woman from her burning car to safety – and video of the dramatic rescue has surfaced.

Lightning struck the southern Minnesota woman's car last week, killing the engine and locking her inside. Then it burst into flames.

"There was no way I could unlock anything. Windows weren't working, nothing," driver Anna Marie Smith told ABC 6 News.

Lake Crystal police officer Chris Burban was patrolling nearby. Video from his dash cam video recorded the entire rescue (watch it above).

Burban jumped out of his car and ran toward the burning vehicle, which was pulled over on the side of Highway 60 in Lake Crystal.

The only thing that was going through his mind was: "I got to get her out of this car, nobody is going to burn to death if I can help it," Burban told KEYC.

He tried to open the car door, but it wouldn't budge. So he pulled out an old pocket knife and broke open the passenger-side window, the Le Seur News Herald reports.

"I reached inside to try and open the door, but it still wouldn't open, so I broke out as much glass as possible to get her out," Burban told the Le Seur News Herald.

Michael Smith, 18, was driving by and stopped to help. Together, they grabbed Anna Marie Smith's arms and pulled her out of the car through the window.

"Pretty shocking to see what I actually did," Michael Smith told FOX 9. "When I was out there, I didn't realize what I was doing – just trying to get her out. Now, I that look back and look at it, pretty shocking what I actually did – lifted up this lady and pulled her out of the car, across the car."

The rescuers also grabbed Anna Marie Smith's oil bag, which she uses in her work as a massage therapist, ABC 6 reports.

“I was really appreciative of his help,” Burban told the Le Seur News Herald. “A few cars drove by the fire, but Michael stopped and helped.”

The three of them weren't seriously injured – just some cuts from the broken window, according to reports.

Burban told FOX 9 that the rescue – which took all of 45 seconds – was the most dangerous of his career. Burban said Anna Marie Smith's vehicle exploded just a few minutes after they pulled her out, ABC 6 notes.

Burban said he was just doing his job, while Michael Smith said it was instinct.

"According to [Michael Smith], he's in a law enforcement program," Burban told FOX 9. "He can come back me up any day. He has what it takes."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 9.54.21 AM

Newly elected representative vows to flout Minnesota COVID-19 rules

He wrote to Gov. Tim Walz, inviting him to a backyard gathering ahead of Thanksgiving.

coronavirus, covid-19

Minnesota Hospital Association: We are out of time to be 'Minnesota Nice'

The group is launching an ad campaign that holds nothing back about the seriousness of the situation in Minnesota hospitals.

MSU-Mankato hockey, Minnesota State, Mavericks

1 game into season and MSU Mankato is halted by COVID-19

The Mavericks played Bemidji State on Sunday.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.57.50 AM

Cowboys TD featured horrible non-tackle by Vikings cornerback

Number 26 wanted nothing to do with making that tackle.