March 30, 2007
This I believe…
I was driving home a few days ago from work when I thought I saw fire on the side of the freeway. That seemed odd so I simply kept driving. All of a sudden I saw a car turned sideways on the middle of the freeway. I swerved to avoid hitting it. I then saw the fire. It was a car going up in flames. I thought for a second and then I stopped. I got out of my car and ran to the burning car. A few other people had also stopped.
I could not believe my eyes. There were flames everywhere and two people trapped inside. One of them was moving in robot-like motion. It was a young lady and it seemed that her body was in shock. It seemed unreal. I immediately thought to get a fire extinguisher but my car did not have one. Somebody else was able to get one and sprayed the car. Unfortunately that did little to stop the flames. Another person opened one of the doors and tried to pull the young lady out but the seat belt was stuck. He yelled for scissors. I ran to my car thinking I had a pocketknife. I looked and looked, but it wasn’t there. I graved my suit jacket thinking that once we got them out I could use it to put out the flames on their bodies. I ran back to the burning car.
The flames had grown much stronger. The heat coming from the car was unbearable. My coat jacket fell from my hand as I stood there helpless, watching two people burn to death. Somebody got pieces of carpet from a car that had stopped. Another person and I turned them over and used them as shields as we approached the car to try and help. She opened the door. I tried to reach in but I couldn’t do it. Flames were everywhere. We moved back. A minute or two later the fire department came and put out the fire. It was too late, the people inside were already dead.
It seemed we did everything we could to save them. Yet it also seemed that we could have done more. Driving home I kept thinking I should have reached in and tried to pull her out, even if it meant sacrificing my arm. I think that somewhere, somehow those two opposing thoughts can live together in harmony.
The very next morning I bought a fire extinguisher for my car. The cost was only $15. If everyone who stopped that night had had a fire extinguisher in their cars I think we could have saved their lives.
I believe every car should come with a fire extinguisher. I also believe that many car companies would be hesitant to do this unless required to by law. Fire extinguishers help save lives. If you don’t have one please go out and got one. The next life saved might be somebody you love.
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