‘You help people who need help’: Three people rescue woman from burning car in Airway Heights

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — Three people are being called modern-day heroes. The heroic acts of three people saved a woman’s life on Thursday night in Airway Heights. She was unconscious in a burning car before they jumped in and pulled her out.

Brandon Hinkle was driving home from work on Hayford and Thorpe roads. It turned into a selfless act.

“You just help people who need help,” said Hinkle.

He saw dust and a fire coming from a car. Little did he know, a woman was inside.

“I immediately stopped and called 911 on my way over there,” Hinkle said. “I gave them [dispatchers] the cross streets and it’s like I have to go, I’m trying to do something.”

Two other drivers, Hector and Erin, also stopped.

“We were able to get up on the embankment and jump onto the side of the car because it was laying on its driver’s side. We jumped onto the passenger side,” Hinkle said.

They tried to get the woman out through the passenger door facing up, but it did not work.

“I ended up kicking out the windshield and that took a lot, but I kicked out the windshield,” Hinkle said. “There was a lot of adrenaline.”

The rescuers got her out and carried her away from the fire. But then, the woman asked about her daughter.

“We were all super nervous because we looked in the car and we double and triple checked and there was nobody else in the car, so we were just scared that there was,” Hinkle said.

Thankfully, the woman’s mother called. Brandon, who had the woman’s phone, got word that her mother had the little girl. However, something of Erin’s was; her cell phone.

“Somehow it ended up in the vehicle and it did not survive the fire,” said Officer Patrick Carbaugh of Airway Heights Police Department.

Carbaugh and other officers proposed the idea of contacting the cell phone company. They wanted to help Erin get a new phone, potentially for free. In the meantime, he is thanking the three rescuers.

“Had they had not acted like they did, there would’ve been a fatality there,” Carbaugh said. “My hats off to those people because they’re modern-day heroes. They did a good job.”

Though Hinkle does not see it that way.

“That’s not me. I’m not a hero. That’s cops and nurses and doctors,” Hinkle said. “I just feel like that’s something you do. You know, you help people who need help.”

As for the woman, she’s recovering from her injuries. She got ahold of Hinkle and said thank you and told him she was happy he was there to save her.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Spokane Police Department.