Guest post by Michael StricklandPhoto by Phillpe Bittar
Advertisement - story continues below
Two teenagers saw her alone in her car…But fear not, this was hardly the scene of some ginned up riot or violent crime.
Former high school linebacker, and now Oregon State University pre-medical student Phillipe Bittar and his brother Raphael stopped to take pictures of a car on fire at a gas station, then they noticed the driver was stuck inside. The trunk was on fire, and flames were spreading to the back seat and gas pumps, which were shut off by an attendant. With the car doors locked, and the elderly woman panicking, Bittar threw a punch, breaking through the driver’s side window, and dragged the woman to safety, just before the entire car went up in flames.
The 19-year-old told the woman he was going to get her out. He reached in and grabbed her under her armpits and pulled her through the window. “She was light in my arms,” he said.
Once out of the car, Bittar held her up and walked her over to two other women, who embraced her. Then they hugged and thanked him.
By the time Bittar turned back to look at the car, it was engulfed in flames.
What caused the fire is still under investigation, Cour said. No one else was injured. Firefighters likely would not have been able to reach the woman in time had Bittar not gotten her out, said Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Leonard Damian.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic,” he said.
The brothers were leaving a New Seasons to get some food when they drove close to the nearby gas station and saw the burning car. Bittar said he felt dazed afterward as he watched the flames consume the car just before they were extinguished by firefighters.
“I didn’t really have much time to think and process everything as it was happening,” he said. “But seeing the fire and the car and knowing she was out, it really hit me that I saved her life, and it felt really good.”