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Rescuers who pulled woman from burning car: 'Not a hero thing'

The four heroes who pulled an elderly woman from a burning car following a highway pileup speak out about the dramatic nick-of-time rescue.
/ Source: TODAY

When a car was engulfed in flames following a 10-car crash in New York last week, four men didn't hesitate to risk their lives to save a fellow motorist.

In a dramatic rescue captured on dashcam video that was posted to Facebook by Binghamton Mayor Richard David, four men helped rescue an elderly driver from a potentially fatal situation.

"It's not a hero thing,'' one of the rescuers, Ed Staff, told Miguel Almaguer in a segment that aired on TODAY Wednesday. "It's just something that I would expect someone to do for me."

The pileup occurred Aug. 25 after a runaway tractor-trailer slammed into slowing traffic on New York's Route 17. Staff, Chris White, Albert Fiori and Doug Kumpon leaped into action when they saw a car engulfed in flames.

"We knew we didn't have a lot of time,'' White said. "The cabin of the vehicle itself was starting to fill with smoke."

An elderly woman was trapped inside. Kumpon grabbed the door handle but it snapped off, and so did the rear door handle when the men attempted to open it.

"It was scary,'' Kumpon said. "The flames came around three-quarters of the car."

Staff scrambled to find a fire extinguisher and began dousing the flames as the other three men smashed open the passenger window and pulled the woman to safety. She suffered only minor injuries.

Ten people were taken to the hospital following the crash, but no one was killed, according to NBC affiliate WBGH. The driver of the truck was ticketed for inadequate brakes.

"Without question, they are heroes, and they had no idea the camera was rolling,'' Mayor David said. "We are a wonderful community filled with great citizens who risked their lives not only for neighbors and family members, but for complete strangers."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.