Cell phone footage shows the moment an elderly couple in their 90s were rescued from a burning car at the side of a San Diego highway.
Ken Williamson, 92, and his wife Joan, 90, were trapped in a car being engulfed by billowing flames and thick black smoke on the shoulder of the I-8.
Footage shot by witness Marie Macrorie shows flames lapping around the back of the car, as a group of men try to get the occupants out.
One man seen reaching into the driver’s seat and pulling an elderly man out of the Toyota and onto the road.
He quickly grabs the man by his arms and runs away from the scene.
‘Watch his arms!’ Macrorie can be heard shouting in the video. Another voice in the background says ‘they got him they got him’ in attempts to keep her calm.
At least five other people are seen helping in the rescue effort. Two are seen helping Joan after getting her out of the passenger seat, while three others help carry Ken farther away from the fire.
The Good Samaritans were men from the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC), a shelter for homeless people in El Cajon, CBS 8 revealed.
Ken, 92, and Joan Williamson, 90, were trapped in a car being engulfed by billowing flames and thick black smoke
Ken, 92, and Joan Williamson, 90, were trapped in a car being engulfed by billowing flames and thick black smoke on the shoulder of the I-8 in San Diego, California
Five Good Samaritans from the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC) rescued the couple from the burning car on Labor Day just before 4.30pm
The five men saw the couple’s car on fire on Labor Day just before 4.30pm in the westbound lane of the highway in Lakeside before the exit for Lake Jennings Park Road.
They were traveling in the opposite direction but parked in the median and rushed over to help the Williamsons.
One of the rescuers, Harry Hemphill, told CBS 8: ‘We ran over there. A couple of the guys grabbed the wife and the other two grabbed the husband who was driving.
‘Even when the elderly gentleman was on the ground with his arms severely burned, he did not seem like he was in any pain, he was more concerned about his wife.’
Fellow ECTLC member Andre Leggett added: ‘We just saw this guy, and he is stuck in his seatbelt, so we kind of snatched open the door, and unbuckled the seatbelt, my buddy Barry snatched him out of the car and carried him to the side of the road.’
Ken and Joan were vacationing in California from Arizona for Labor Day when their car was somehow hit from behind and caught on fire unbeknownst to them
Ken suffered ‘some burns to his left side’ and Joan ‘got out with unbelievably just abrasions’ according to the couple’s sons Steve and Mark Williamson. They are recovering at UCSD Medical Center
Barry was in the hospital as of Tuesday to treat burns he suffered from on his arms after helping pull the Williamsons from the flames.
Lucas, another rescuer at the scene, noted the men ‘did not even realize that there was somebody in the passenger seat, that is just how much smoke was in the car’.
The fifth Good Samaritan Scott Andre said he is ‘glad that they are okay and glad that God took care of them’.
When the men rescued both husband and wife Macrorie shouted, telling them not to leave them on the road.
At the time there didn’t appear to be any law enforcement, EMS or firefighters at the scene but Ken and Joan Williamson were rushed to UCSD Medical Center shortly after, and are recovering.
The couple’s sons Steve and Mark Williamson traveled from Phoenix to San Diego to see their parents in the hospital.
The couple’s sons Steve and Mark Williamson traveled from Phoenix to San Diego to see their parents in the hospital
Steve told CBS 8 of his parent’s conditions: ‘Our dad had some burns to his left side and my mom got out with unbelievably just abrasions. We are just so grateful, these guys are heroes to us and to our parents for stepping up immediately, and that is phenomenal.’
‘Everyone who saw that video knows that if those people did not pull my parents out, we would not be having this discussion right now, so I can’t thank them enough.
‘I just want them to know that they saved two absolutely beautiful people, and we would love to have information to thank him personally,’ Mark added.
The sons told the local news station on Tuesday that their mother was expected to be released from the hospital within the next 48 hours. Their father would stay a few more days.
When CBS 8 asked the rescuers why they chose to make the dangerous rescue, Hemphill responded: ‘There was a time when like so many of us, I would not have, we would have kept driving, but because of programs like ECTLC, we are changing, and in that change, we are not just being selfish individuals, but we look out for others.’
The East County Transitional Living Center, in El Cajon, houses and feeds more than 450 homeless men, women, and children every day, according to their website.