MAPLEWOOD, Minn. -- The neighbors who live on County Road B near Birmingham Street are pretty close. They watch out for each other. Early Sunday morning, they proved that they watch out for the folks passing through, too.
John Varchminn was cooking bacon just before 8 a.m. "I heard a crash, bang, boom," he recalled. A white Grand Am had hopped a curb, plowed through a mailbox and tee-boned a tree.
"This car went up quick, I mean, the flames went up in an instant. There wasn't much time, it was getting hot," his neighbor Bob from across the street explained.
Inside the car was Stacy Norton, recently married, the mother of a 13 month old little boy.
"I've got the phone, on with 9-1-1 and I'm screaming at everybody. Break the window! Get the hose!" Bob's wife Cindy said.
A man who had been driving by grabbed a broken piece of that mailbox post to smash a window because the doors had been locked. "And then a couple of people grabbed the gal and pulled her out and then the car was making noises and the fire started getting bigger," Varchminn said.
Norton was rushed to Regions Hospital. She had a broken hip and broken ribs. She also had a fighting chance thanks to the folks who live on County B. "Without them she wouldn't be here today and all I could say is thank you so very much," Dan Norton, Stacy's husband, said.
Dan Norton stopped by to thank the kind folks who saved his wife's life. He was also trying to figure out what happened. "From the looks of things it was a tie rod broke on the car and that's why it swerved off the road like it did," Norton explained.
While the car may have failed, the folks on County B did not. "Somebody lived here because everybody came together and got her out, I'm still emotional," Neighbor Cindy said.
"To think that there are good-hearted people out there that will take care of someone without even knowing who they are, put their own lives at risk with a fiery car? It blows my mind," Dan Norton concluded.