Quick-thinking hero

Quick-thinking hero
HERO: Teenager Phillipe Bittar pulled a woman from a burning car on Saturday at a petrol station in Beaverton, Oregon.
PHOTO: Facebook

A US teenager has been hailed a hero after he broke the window of a burning car and saved a woman trapped inside.

Mr Phillipe Bittar, 19, said he acted on instinct after seeing about six onlookers taking videos of the terrified woman stuck inside her car at a petrol station in Beaverton, Oregon, on Saturday.

The car and petrol pump were completely engulfed in flames at the time, reported the Oregonian newspaper online.

"There was like six bystanders just videotaping like 'oh man, she needs to get some help'," said Mr Bittar.

He was on his way to get some food with his brother when they saw the fire.

Although a petrol station attendant tried to shut the pump lines, Mr Bittar said he didn't see anyone else trying to help.

The flames, by then, had reached the back seats.

The woman in the car was still frantically trying to free herself and Mr Brittar rushed forward and with one punch, shattered the window.

RESCUE

"I told her, hey I'm going to pull you out, get away from the window because I have to break it and she's like okay," Fox News station KPTV quoted him saying.

Once out of the car, Mr Bittar held the woman up and walked her over to two other women, who embraced her. The two woman then hugged and thanked the teenager.

By the time the hero turned back to look at the car, it was engulfed in flames.

"Seeing her like that hit me in a certain way that just made me react," he said.

The rescued woman is in her 70s.

The woman, whose name was not released, was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, said Ms Alisa Cour, a Tualatin Fire & Rescue spokesman.

She was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but is expected to recover.

Ms Cour said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

No one else was injured.

Mr Bittar, a pre-med student at Oregon State University, said he has often seen YouTube videos of people in life-or-death situations and always wondered how he would react if he chanced upon one.

"I just wanted to make sure she was safe," he said.

"Now that I know she is, I know I'll be able to rest a little easier tonight."


This article was first published on July 21, 2015.
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