Lifestyle & Human Interest

Broken-Down Car Erupts in Flames and Driver Has No Clue, But Good Samaritan Stops to Save Her


Those of us who have had the pleasure of being the owners of older vehicles know that you have to factor in the possibility of a few more stops along the way than you’d have with a new car.

Being stopped mid-journey was nothing new for Anna Hartman of Wichita, Kansas, whose old vehicle was prone to breakdowns. It was so old hat for her, in fact, that when it came to a halt on Oct. 7 at around 3:30 p.m., she calmly sat inside while she figured out her next steps.

“I’m just coming home from work,” Hartman told KSN-TV. “It’s like a normal day.”

What she didn’t know was that a fire had started in the undercarriage. Thankfully, a passer-by noticed and stopped to tell her — and just in time, too.

“I had somebody pull up, and this woman let me know that the car — there was flames under the car,” Hartman said. “I became pretty hysterical, and she was staying with me and just helping me stay calm.”

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Hartman said that shortly after she exited her car, the whole front of the car went up in flames. The fire department arrived and put out the blaze, but her car had met its end.

Reflecting on the incident, Hartman said she is incredibly thankful for the nameless stranger who saved her life.

“I was still sitting in the car when she stopped,” she said. “So, really I mean that’s life-saving, and I don’t — I mean, I don’t know what would have happened if she wouldn’t have stopped. I didn’t even get the chance to thank her and as soon as I left, I was like oh my goodness, she doesn’t even know what she just did for me.”

“I could have still been sitting in the car, so I really just wanted the chance to tell her thank you for everything.”

Desperate to find the woman and let her know how grateful she is, Hartman posted a photo of her burning car and asked for the public’s help identifying the good Samaritan.

“Okay I know this is a long shot,” she posted on Facebook. “But my car caught on fire today in Wichita at 53rd and Webb. A woman stopped to tell me as I was still in the car that there were flames under my car. She sat with me until my family member came and as I talked to the police.

“She made sure I was ok and safe. I know this is a long shot but at the time I didn’t even think to ask her name but I would love to thank her. So please share this so maybe it can reach her!”

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Hartman was also impressed with her hero’s manner, saying she was composed, which helped her calm back down.

“She seemed like really nonchalant about it,” Hartman continued. “She was like, you know, ‘I couldn’t — I couldn’t think of doing anything else and you are so welcome.’

“I mean, really to her, it was just, it was just, you know what you were supposed to do, but I don’t think she realized like you know it meant so much to me that somebody would stop and stay with me in a moment of chaos like that.”

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