Passersby save woman and young son from burning car in Norristown

The rescuers got Janilsa Ramos and her 3-year-old son out of the car just seconds before it burst into flames.

Alyana Gomez Image
Friday, November 3, 2023
Passersby save woman and young son from burning car in Norristown
Passersby save woman and young son from burning car in Norristown

NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Halloween is a day Janilsa Ramos will never forget.

"I heard a big boom, and it started shaking and shuttering so we pulled over," said Ramos.

The mother of three from Blue Bell was heading home with her 3-year-old son Max when her car started smoking on the Dannehower Bridge in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

"I see these three young men running up to my car, and they came up to my window very calmly and told me, 'Your car is on fire and you need to get out,'" said Ramos.

"We were driving on the other side of the road and we saw from underneath the car on fire," said Todd Pennington of Norristown.

Pennington, along with John Laughlin and Jimmy Staiber, were driving to work when they saw Ramos pulling over. They took the nearest exit and quickly turned around to help.

"Before I could even put the car in park, my friend John just got out of the front seat, ran down to let her know, and she had no idea her car was on fire," said Staiber.

"She went to go grab the back door and when she opened up the back door I seen a baby seat and a kid and it really hit different then. I said, 'Dang, that's not just one life that's two lives right there,'" said Laughlin.

Jimmy grabbed little Max and ran away from the burning car just in time.

"Maybe 30 seconds later, the front end of my car was completely engulfed in flames," said Ramos.

Firefighters arrived and quickly put out the blaze. But in the midst of all the chaos, Ramos never got to thank the three young men for saving their lives.

She posted the incident on Facebook, and the internet went to work. Within 12 hours she found her heroes.

"If it wasn't for them I don't know that we'd be here," said Ramos.

"God is good. Right place, right time, good hearts," said Laughlin.

Unfortunately, on the same day this happened, Ramos' husband's engine blew too, so now they're down two cars.

The three young men just so happen to own a charity called Rotation Gives and are planning to raise money to help Ramos and her family replace their cars.