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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Volunteer Firefighter Helps Save Pregnant Woman from Burning Car: 'Thank God Over & Over Again'

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Your car starts making a new sound. Maybe you hit an especially horrible pothole or your car is aging, or maybe there’s no good reason for it at all, but a new sound reaches your ears as you’re driving, and you realize it is actually your car that’s making the noise.

Do you pull over? Do you shrug it off and plunge onward, deciding the sound is nothing major?

Alrelisha Thibeaux encountered that situation on March 18 while driving to work. Her Buick Enclave was making a strange sound, so she pulled over to the side of Interstate 10 in Louisiana to call her fiancé to figure out how to proceed.

What she could not see from the cab was that a fire had started somewhere in the undercarriage. Smoke was starting to curl up from under the hood.

Thankfully, 18-year-old Connor Manuel spotted the situation and as a volunteer firefighter, he knew he needed to act quickly. He pulled over in front of the Buick and yelled at Thibeaux to get out of her car.

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Thibeaux was more than six months pregnant, and with traffic on her left, she had to painstakingly make her way to the passenger side to exit.

“Thank u jesus I was able to get out in time!” the elated mother wrote on Facebook on March 18. “Sitting inside my truck waiting for my fiance to come meet me and see why it was making a strange noise and stopped.”

“Not knowing I had a small fire underneath. Couldn’t get out on the driver’s side due to heavy traffic. Being 6 &1/2 months, I had the toughest time crossing over to the passenger side.”

“Literally seconds after a man stopped to Yell GET OUT OF THE TRUCK….it burst into flames. Whomever u are…thank u so very much my angel!!! Scariest experience EVER…Especially being only a few feet away from it when it exploded from the hood and all I could do was go in the ditch because I couldn’t run fast enough. I cant even rest, all I can do Is Thank God Over & over again for sparing my life!”

Thibeaux and Manuel got far away from the truck until fire crews arrived. The young rescuer stayed with the pregnant mother until she was taken care of — but she never got his name.

She did what many have done: She sent out her plea and thank-you on Facebook, in hopes that it would reach him and connect them again.

“I couldn’t thank him enough for stopping and telling me to get out,” Thibeaux told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “To (him) it was just a random stop, but it was actually a miracle.”

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“We cant thank u enough Connor Manuel,” Thibeaux wrote on Facebook. “May God bless your whole path in life. It was a normal routine to stop & check for u that turned out to be the miracle stop I needed that morning. Money, gifts, ballons, & your favorite cookie cake will never compare to the 2 lives that u help saved but it was very well deserved!! Such a humble & beautiful soul.”

“Thank u Connor Manuel!!!” she added in another post on March 19. “May God bless you in all ways possible, abundantly!!! Some Good deeds may be unseen or unheard of, But I can assure u that this one will be recognized, and told a million times. GOD placed you in that route at the perfect time because he knew you would do the job of helping me, and you did it with a smile and open arms.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking