By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

FAIRHAVEN (CBS) – Rui Gouveia doesn’t consider himself a hero, but the Fairhaven man certainly acted like one on Tuesday night.

He was driving to work his overnight shift as a prison guard at the Bridgewater Treatment Facility when he saw a car fly past him in the wrong lane on Mendall Road in Acushnet.

“What went through my mind was, ‘Oh my God, they’re gonna crash they’re gonna crash,'” Gouveia says.

Rui Gouveia pulled 3 people out of a burning car. (WBZ-TV)

Rui Gouveia pulled 3 people out of a burning car. (WBZ-TV)

A split second later, the 2003 Chevy Malibu veered off the road, as Gouveia watched in horror.

“[The driver] hit the tree, the car lifted up into the air rolled over and the right away the fire started — exploded right away,” he says.

Gouveia was going to call 911, but decided that he didn’t have enough time. Instead, he jumped out of his car and started pulling people out of the burning Chevy. He got all three people out just in time.

“About 20 seconds later the fire was even worse,” he explains. “That’s when all hell broke loose.”

But moments later, Acushnet police and fire officials were on scene. Authorities will charge the 20-year-old driver with operating under the influence of alcohol.

For Gouveia’s part, he says he could never have just kept driving after seeing the crash.

“My focus was on the people inside the car; I took a chance,” he said. “It could have exploded but at the same time, I was thinking to myself I have time to pull them out.”

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