Rio Grande man helps pull man from burning car

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The car was later fully engulfed in flames. The car was later fully engulfed in flames. CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Frank Carroll didn’t have time to think about the vehicle fire when he yanked the drivers’ side door open at about 3:45 p.m., Friday July 25.

He knew the flames were there; the car was hot, and a couple of loud pops let him know that the fire was growing.

“The adrenaline was flowing, and I knew that we had to get him out of there,” Carroll said in a Monday interview. “I didn’t know when that gas tank was going to go.”

According to a state police report, Stephen Kuritz, 67, Philadelphia, was not in his vehicle when the fire was reported 3:42 p.m. last Friday.

“The caller saw flames under the motor vehicle on the Garden State Parkway southbound at milepost 7, but there were no occupants,” said Trooper Alina Spies, a state police spokeswoman.

According to Spies, by the time troopers arrived on the scene, both Cape May Court House Fire Department and Rescue were there, as well as Middle Township Police.

“We respond because we can get there within a few minutes,” said Middle Township Police Capt. John Edwards. “We always get there to assist the state police.”

But before police arrived, Carroll, 30, Rio Grande, and another rescuer were on the scene. Neither police nor Carroll knew the name of the other Good Samaritan.

“The main concern for me was that the guy had been driving with his hazard lights on, and there was smoke coming from the back of the vehicle,” Carroll said.

“As I passed him, I could see flames under his vehicle.”

According to Carroll, Kuritz pulled his car over at that point, and Carroll pulled over about 100 yards ahead of him.

“I ran back and I saw him in there, and I knew that I had to get him out.”

Although Carroll saw flames under the car as he passed Kuritz on the parkway, he put the fire out of his mind when he saw an elderly man in the drivers’ seat.

“I knew there flames; and there was someone behind me to help when I pulled open the door,” he said. “But I was focused on getting the guy out of there.”

Yet before Carroll could pull Kuritz from the car, the driver said he had to get his walker.

“There were two of us getting him out of the car,” Carroll said. “He was an elderly man with a walker, and he needed some assistance to get to safety in time.”

Once Kuritz was safely away from the burning vehicle, Carroll called 911.

“The Middle police and fire department were there within minutes,” Carroll said.

The car was destroyed in the fire.

See related story: Carroll honored at Committee meeting

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