Passer-by rescues 3 men from burning Jeep in Auburn

Auburn Fire Department works on dousing a SUV that caught fire after flipping when the driver caught a soft shoulder on Broad Street in Auburn Tuesday afternoon. The man in the background at left watching the scene is Pawel Kruszewski from Auburn, who pulled the three men in the vehicle to safety.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Auburn Fire Department works on dousing a SUV that caught fire after flipping when the driver caught a soft shoulder on Broad Street in Auburn Tuesday afternoon. The man in the background at left watching the scene is Pawel Kruszewski from Auburn, who pulled the three men in the vehicle to safety.
Posted Sept. 11, 2013, at 10:48 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 12, 2013, at 7:34 p.m.
Smoke obscures Broad Street in Auburn Tuesday afternoon after an SUV flipped and caught fire after catching a soft shoulder. Three men were pulled to safety from the vehicle.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Smoke obscures Broad Street in Auburn Tuesday afternoon after an SUV flipped and caught fire after catching a soft shoulder. Three men were pulled to safety from the vehicle.
Passengers of the SUV speak with someone from United Ambulance as the vehicle burns in the background behind them Tuesday on Broad Street in Auburn.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Passengers of the SUV speak with someone from United Ambulance as the vehicle burns in the background behind them Tuesday on Broad Street in Auburn.

AUBURN, Maine — Three people were rescued from a burning Jeep after a rollover on Broad Street on Tuesday evening.

According to Lt. Laurie Woodhead of the Auburn Police Department, around 6:20 p.m., Robert Hack, 43, of Lisbon was traveling south on Broad Street in his 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee with passengers David Call, 40, and Ronald Call, 48, both of Lisbon, when he caught his wheel on the right-hand soft shoulder and lost control.

Woodhead said Hack overcorrected, crossing lanes before the vehicle rolled over in a ditch on the opposite side of the road and caught fire.

Pawel Kruszewski of Auburn was heading home from Old Castle Precast, north toward town, when he saw a vehicle pulled over in the road and, just beyond it, the Jeep on fire.

Reluctant to take any credit for his assistance, Kruszewski explained how he approached the vehicle and helped the two passengers get out through the rear hatch.

After they were freed, Kruszewski rushed to assist the driver, who was “stuck.” He said he unbuckled the driver and turned his body, allowing him to escape the rapidly burning Jeep.

“It’s one of those things,” Kruszewski said, “car was on fire — you just gotta yank them out.”

Kruszewski was treated at the scene for cuts on his right arm from broken glass while attempting to remove the driver.

The vehicle was engulfed in flames when Auburn Fire Department arrived moments later.

Broad Street was closed between Hackett and Witham roads while crews doused the flames, obscuring much of Broad Street in thick smoke.

Sonia Landry of Lewiston was traveling south on Broad Street when she came upon the scene.

“We came up when [Kruszewski] was trying to pull these guys from the vehicle,” Landry said, “He’s a hero.”

According to Landry, the vehicle was on fire and Kruszewski was “determined to get these guys out.”

Woodhead said David Call was seated in the rear passenger side of the vehicle and suffered back injuries. Ronald Call was in the front passenger seat and suffered minor head injuries. Both were transported by United Ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Hack suffered a shoulder injury but refused treatment at the scene. Police cited him for driving without a license and for operating an unregistered vehicle.

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