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Man jumps into action, pulls woman from burning hybrid car on Route 28

ASPINWALL, Pa. — A McKees Rocks man says he may have saved a woman’s life Monday night when her car died in the middle of Route 28 near Aspinwall just before midnight.

Roger Paulish said he nearly rear-ended a hybrid Honda vehicle because it was stopped in the middle of the left-hand lane with no lights on. Paulish said while most cars were passing the stopped vehicle by, he turned on his hazard lights and got out of the car to see what was going on.

“I walked up to the vehicle and there’s a woman inside,” Paulish said. “I asked her what’s wrong and she said ‘my car just stopped, it died and I have no power.’ I said ‘can you get out?’ And she said ‘no they’re locked I can’t get them open.’”

Paulish said the woman had just gotten the car so she didn’t know how to manually unlock the doors.

Paulish said he called 911 as the woman’s sister arrived to help.

“All of a sudden we start smelling something burning and it was getting stronger so the sister looks and says, you’ve got smoke coming from your car,” Paulish said. “She starts saying ‘the car’s on fire, the car’s on fire, get me out, get me out,’ she’s trying to kick the window open, she’s trying to push it open, nothing is working.”

Paulish said he knew he only had seconds to save the woman from the burning car.

“I then ran to my car, I grab a torque wrench, I run back up, I said ‘I’m going to get you out, I’m going to break the window, slide over, turn your head,’ and I broke the window out and clearing the glass and me and the sister then got her out of that vehicle,” Paulish recalled. “That’s when the engine became engulfed.”

Paulish said at the time he was not carrying a fire extinguisher so he stopped a commercial vehicle on Route 28, asked to use their fire extinguisher and was able to put the fire out before first responders arrived.

“I just jumped into action and basically did what needed to be done,” Paulish said.

As a result of that quick action, everyone made it out OK.

Paulish said from here on out, he will keep a fire extinguisher along with his tools in his car should something like this ever happen again.

The Aspinwall fire chief said the fire department didn’t have anything to add, except that if a car is ever on fire, everyone should get as far away from it as possible.

Kayla Courvell

Kayla Courvell

I was born and raised in a small town just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and decided as a child I was going to be a news reporter.

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