BEAVERTON, Ore. - Two people were pulled from a burning car that went up in flames following a collision with a semi truck Monday.
The crash happened around 1:30 p.m. at Tualatin Valley Highway and Murray Boulevard.
According to witnesses, the back of the car caught fire immediately after the collision with the semi truck. Mike Parmelee, a local soldier with the 82nd Airborne, and two Washington County sheriff's deputies rushed to the burning car and pulled out the driver and passenger before the fire could spread.
The two people pulled from the burning wreckage were expected to be fine but were transported to a local hospital as a precaution. The driver of the semi truck was not hurt but was cited for running a red light.
Parmelee's car was also hit in the accident, but he still had his wits about him to jump into action.
"I don't like to see bad things happen to good people," he said. "I've been a lot of places. When I come home, I feel like these are my people – that and just doing the right thing."
Parmelee was stopped at a red light at the intersection when he saw a semi coming toward him in his rearview mirror.
"I could see this truck coming up probably about 45 miles per hour, and he wasn't stopping," he said.
The truck clipped Parmelee's SUV and pushed it into the left-hand turn lane. His car sustained scrapes, but the damage was minor compared to the other car.
"He hit the front hood, went over that, and then spun around. And then the trailer hit the back," he said. "I saw the car just burning, like instantly. I saw it after it spun around, a whole bunch of gas went in the air and landed on the car, and the trunk was on fire."
From the burning car, Parmelee pulled the female passenger to safety and the two deputies grabbed the driver. The car's cabin then caught fire.
Parmelee's humble about his actions and says he was just doing what's right.
"I wasn't really thinking. It was just more like these people looked like they needed a hand," he said.
Further details about the crash itself have not yet been released by police. The investigation is continuing.
This was the second time this week that people have escaped serious injury, or possibly death, in a burning vehicle thanks to the help of bystanders. On Sunday, a vehicle spun out of control, landed on its side and caught fire on Northwest Burnside and Uptown Terrace.
A nearby resident called 9-1-1 and then pulled an unconscious woman out of the passenger seat. The resident then went back to get the male driver, who had also been unconscious but woke up when his feet began burning. At that point, the man was able to get out of the vehicle on his own.
Both the driver and his passenger were taken to the hospital to be treated for trauma injuries.
"Without this citizen's heroic action, both individuals would likely have died before help arrived," Portland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Don Russ said in a news release about the incident. "The condition that we found the vehicle in was not survivable."
KATU News reporter Meghan Kalkstein contributed to this report.