Neighbor saves driver from burning car, family escapes home

BRIDESBURG - September 26, 2011

Derek Soldavini was startled out of bed around 3:00 a.m.

That is when police say an elderly man crashed his Mercury into a home on the 4600 block of Thompson.

The vehicle burst into flames.

"My mother came running upstairs screaming there is a man on fire. I just jumped out of bed and came outside," Soldavini said.

"The whole time you're just thinking of the gas tank exploding. That would've been just a disaster including the people living in the house," neighbor Dan Renn said.

"I ran in got the fire extinguisher, starting putting the flames out," Soldavini said.

The impact of the vehicle hitting the home on Thompson Street startled the family who lives there.

Maria Krontiris staggered out of bed and soon found smoke pouring into her home.

"It felt like an earthquake, the house shook, startled and woke up, calling my children 'get down, get down, just get out of the house,'" Maria Krontiris said.

She was able to get her family to safety, but Soldavini soon realized a man was inside the burning car.

"I noticed a hand and that's when we pulled the guy out to safety," Soldavini said.

It's unclear why the unnamed man lost control of the car.

He only suffered minor injuries and can thank Soldavini and others for being alive today.

"It's a blessing in disguise just to see that cohesiveness in time how everyone runs to help out," Krontiris said.

"I have training from being an electrician and I guess I just acted on instinct," Soldavini said.

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