'Heroic' Teen Rescues Woman From Burning Car

Phillipe Bittar, 19, barely had time to react
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2015 2:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Oregon State University student is being called "heroic" for rescuing an elderly woman from a burning car while others stood by shooting videos. Phillipe Bittar, 19, says he didn't have much time to react yesterday afternoon when he saw the car at a Chevron station in Portland, KPTV reports. "I wasn't really thinking, I just saw her and knew I had to get her out of there before it gets worse," he says. "There was like six bystanders just videotaping like oh man she needs to get some help." With the passenger frantic inside, Bittar smashed the car window open with a single punch, the Oregonian reports. A former high-school linebacker, he easily pulled her out: "She was light in my arms," he says.

Right after, the fire grew so rapidly that flames were already shooting out of the car's front seat, Bittar's brother Raphael tells KVAL. A gas station worker swiftly turned off the gas pump, but the car and more than one pump were toast; an explosion rocked the gas station at one point, sending a ball of fire into the main building. The woman was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation and is expected to recover, while Phillip received treatment on the scene for cuts to his hand. "Had this individual not broken out the window and pulled the patient out of the burning car and to safety, I don't believe she would have survived," says a local fire chief. "His actions were nothing short of heroic."

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