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Woman saves driver from fiery crash near Olympia

An Olympia woman is being hailed as a heroine for jumping in and rescuing a man with a medical issue from a burning car Monday afternoon, July 30, 2018. (Photo: Thurston Co. Sheriff)

OLYMPIA, WASH. - An Olympia woman is being hailed as a heroine for jumping in and rescuing a man with a medical issue from a burning car Monday afternoon.

Heather Zabrowski said she's surprised by how quickly she acted.

"They drove down into a ditch and back up and mowed down a few signs and I'm like, 'that's not right,''" said Zabrowski.

By the time she got turned around and stopped at the scene the car was already on fire. She said people were just standing and watching.

"I asked them again, 'is there somebody in there?' and they were like 'yeah.' I said, 'well we need to get him out, now.' And so I just jumped down in the ditch and ripped open the car door," said Zabrowski.

She got the seat belt free, but said the driver, a 67-year-old man, was in shock and not able to get out himself.

"I just started yanking on him and saying, 'we need to get you out of the car,' and he just kind of looked and smiled," said Zabrowski. "I was pulling on him as hard as I could and yelled back to people, 'I need help. I'm not strong enough for this. I can't do this.'"

"When I got up the hill there was a couple of people standing watching and she came over and said, 'come on help me out' and stuff," said Jerry Dierker, who owns the property where the crash happened.

Dierker is a former fire fighter and took quick action to get the flames knocked down while Zabrowski finally got the help of two men to get the driver to a safe distance.

She said she jumped in without thinking.

"Because somebody was in there. I didn't know who it was. But it could have been anybody. It could have been anybody's family member. So I just decided somebody needed help," said Zabrowski. "I surprised myself in my reaction there because I didn't know how I would react in that situation."

"She definitely jumped right in there and was telling these other two guys which were big guys 'hey come on help me' down there so yes, she's definitely the hero," said Dierker.

The driver was taken to a nearby hospital. No word yet on his condition, but the sheriff's office said he wasn't seriously hurt in the crash. He just needed treatment for his diabetic shock.

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