10/14/2014 01:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Good Samaritan Rescues 3 From Burning Car Moments Before Explosion

This man's quick instincts and courage helped him save three lives -- just in the nick of time.

Rui Gouveia, 41, a corrections officer from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, was on his way to work last Tuesday, when a car sped past him, veering off the road and crashing into a tree, CBS Boston reported.

"When it hit the tree, it went up about five feet in the air and it landed upside down," Gouveia told South Coast Today. "As soon as the car landed upside down, I saw the fire coming out of the engine."

The corrections officer sprung into action and pulled the driver, 20, and two passengers, 18 and 19, out of the car. The vehicle exploded right after the last person had been rescued, according to the outlet.

"My focus was on the people inside the car; I took a chance. It could have exploded but at the same time, I was thinking to myself I have time to pull them out," he told CBS Boston.

Gouveia said that when he witnessed the collision, he initially reached for his cell phone to call 911, but feared that he didn't have enough time, CBS reported. He hurried to attend to the crash victims, but found the doors locked. A quick-thinking Gouveia pulled the three out through the driver's window to safety. After the rescue, the victims were groggy from he crash and unaware of the fire. Two of them suffered minor injuries, and the third was unharmed.

While the vehicle wasn't stable, and the 41-year-old knew he was getting himself into a dangerous situation, thoughts of the victims and their families ran through his mind.

"Oh my gosh these families could have lost their children tonight," Gouveia told ABC6 of his thoughts the night of the crash.

He says that if he were put in the same position again, there's no doubt he'd risk his own life for the safety of others.

"If I have to do it again, I would do it, that's the way I put it," Gouveia told the source.

The driver of the vehicle is currently facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol, CBS reported.

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