LONDONDERRY, NH (CBS) – A Londonderry, NH man is very lucky to be alive after he was pulled from a burning car on Saturday morning.

Authorities say Robert Brayley, 58, is improving, but still in bad shape after his car struck a tree on Mammoth Road and burst into flames around around 6:15 a.m.

Earl Wickline, 63, was on his way to work when he saw the accident.

“I just knew I couldn’t let the guy burn to death,” Wickline said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that’s what would’ve happened, so I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t walk away from that.”

Wickline began trying to pull Brayley from the car. His rescue effort was soon joined by Shannon Rouille, who lives across the street from where Brayley crashed. She and her daughter brought fire extinguishers to help.

“We grabbed fire extinguishers trying to put it out,” Rouille said. “We just did what we had to do. We didn’t think about anything but getting those two out of the car – the guy and his dog.”

Wickline’s hands were unfortunately burned and blistered in the rescue effort, which included freeing Brayley’s dog, which was trapped on the passenger side of the car.

“When I went in to get him, his back clothing was on fire. So I just starting pushing the fire away from him,” Wickline said. “Then I reached up underneath him and pulled him out.”

Police arrived shortly after and helped Wickline pull Brayley to safety.

Investigators say both the man and his dog would have been killed if not for the good samaritans.

“I think I was put there for a reason,” Wickline said. “And people do what they have to do to help people.”

Brayley is recovering a Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and both he and his dog are expected to survive.

Police are still investigating the accident.


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