A woman and her 1-year-old granddaughter are alive today thanks to David Fredericksen, a heroic truck driver who didn't hesitate to leave the safety of his own cab and run toward the wreckage of a car being rapidly consumed by flames.
Fredericksen's dashcam recorded the inspiring act, as the driver pulled up to the burning car and briefly weighed his options with a passenger in his truck on Aug. 11.
"That guy is dead, dude!" exclaims the unnamed passenger, as Fredericksen asks, "Want to see if we can get them out of the car?"
The passenger responds, "NO! What are you going to do?!" To which Fredericksen selflessly offers, "I've got a fire extinguisher."
The trucker then hops out of his cab, fire extinguisher in hand, and heads toward the growing inferno. Inspired by his action, other bystanders also leave their own cars to help in the rescue:
In a post accompanying the video on YouTube, Fredericksen's son said the incident occurred on Interstate 10 near Biloxi, Mississippi, after the car T-boned a semi-truck's fuel tank. The car doors were jammed shut, trapping the driver and her granddaughter in the vehicle.
His son writes:
Thankfully my father had the presence of mind, bravery, and forethought of carrying a fire extinguisher, to be the first person on scene to risk his own life in order to possibly save another and to inspire others and lead them into taking action. Everyone involved in the rescue effort is a hero in my books. The police and fire department responded within minutes of the accident and also deserve praise.
Remember to treat truck drivers well as they are often the first responders in automobile accidents.
“We noticed there was a lady in the front, kicking the front seat – the door, trying to get out, and when we opened the door I noticed a 1-year-old little girl in the back seat,” Fredericksen told ABC News, recounting the scene. “She was pretty happy when I grabbed her out of there.”
In a separate interview with Jalopnik, the trucker said he didn't feel his actions were particularly heroic. "Really what I feel is when I first got out of the truck, I was praying that they wouldn't be dead," he said. "I just wanted to put the fire out, but when I saw they were alive, I was like 'SWEET!'"
He said the passenger who was with him in the truck ended up saving the toddler in the car's backseat. The little girl, who he described as "the cutest little thing," was "hugging him so tight she was choking him," he said.
Remarkably, aside from the grandmother suffering a broken leg, everyone involved -- including the truck driver who was T-boned -- escaped without any serious injury.