A good Samaritan rescued two toddlers from a burning car Tuesday morning on southbound state Route 167 near Algona.
The driver asked the man to use his truck to push the burning car off the highway.
Brandon Howard was headed home from work when he saw flames shooting out from the car ahead of him. He drove up next to the car and rolled down his window to tell the driver, Ronald Williams, that his car was on fire.
The car lost power so Howard used his truck to push it to the shoulder.
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It was about 3:40 a.m. There was so much smoke he couldn’t see there were two toddlers in car seats trapped in the backseat.
Howard worked to get the 11-month-old.
“I’m trying to get the seatbelt off of the car seat and it’s filled with smoke,” he said. “I can’t breathe.”
The driver, who was caring for the boys while their mom was at work, went to get the 2-year-old from the other side.
Seconds after the toddlers were safe, the entire car erupted in flames.
Williams was caring for the little boys. He’d just dropped off their mother at work in Renton and was headed back to Auburn. He didn’t know the car was on fire until Howard told him.
“When it burst into flames I was like, ‘Oh my God, let me get these kids up out of this car,’” said Williams, still shaken hours later. “The Lord was with us this time.”
Howard, a father of two, was headed home from work. After the toddlers were out of the car he called 911. Later, he took Williams and the toddlers home to Auburn. He already had a car seat in his truck.
Howard says it was a “matter of seconds” and this would have ended differently. He is thankful he was there to help: “Thank God, thank God.”
The toddlers were not hurt. Their mother said she plans to personally thank Howard for saving her little boys.