Bucks county bartender hailed as hero

May 21, 2009 3:47:28 PM PDT
To one family in Doylestown he is literally a savior.

"The one vehicle already had flames bursting underneath it and flames coming from under the hood," said Ray Szymkiewicz.

Szymkiewicz, a bartender at the Knight House on State Street in Doylestown, sprang into action yesterday afternoon after a nasty two-car collision occurred just down the block from the restaurant.

"I heard someone say there's a fire, there's a fire," said Megan Noel, who was inside one of the cars. "And I could move, so I was, like, freaking out because I couldn't get my kids out of the car."

With the passenger side of her car smashed in, Noel, of West Rockwell Township, injured her leg and was having trouble getting out. Her 4-month-old son Jonathan and 2-year-old daughter Karyna were in the back seat in car seats. The crash left a huge bump on the little girl's forehead. Megan's sister Amanda Noel was driving.

"I got out and I grabbed my nephew out, but i tried to get my sister out but she couldn't get out on her side," she said. "Then the man in the black shirt came running and climbed into the car and dragged her out."

Szymkiewicz is the man in the black shirt. The former Marine and father of four got everyone away from the vehicles and had coworkers at the restaurant run for fire extinguishers.

"He didn't even think twice," said waitress Jeanine Rudolph. "He knew that there was a fire going, to go help the people and didn't think about himself, he was a hero."

Szymkiewicz said he just responded to the situation and "it was no big deal." But it was a big deal to the Noel sisters, who, although a little banged up, are thankful for his help and the others who pitched in after the crash.

"I think they're angels, just wonderful people, because who knows what could have happened?" said Amanda.

"Thank you for helping us, I don't know what we would have done if nobody was there," said Megan.

"People care, that's all it takes, people care," said Szymkiewicz. "I'll be honest will you, I'm not the softest guy, but I got a little teary-eyed with the amount of people that came in here just to want to shake [my] hand."

Szymkiewicz said he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, "and you would hope that people would do that for you."

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