Fabricio Lauar said something convinced him to drive to work Monday morning.
He was running late, and when he was driving in the QEW, the industrial miller had no idea that his trip would be interrupted by a burning rescue.
And that he would be one of the saviors.
An incredible video shared by the Ontario Provincial Police on Wednesday night shows a white car traveling QEW westbound, with plumes of thick smoke behind it.
Vehicles behind him slow down, a large black SUV pulling up behind the white car that crashed into the grassy median.
Lauar would end up being one of the five men who pulled a 36-year-old driver out of the burning white car. Shortly after the group pulls the driver out of the vehicle, it completely bursts into flames.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the driver of a white sedan lost control of his car while heading west on the QEW after suffering a medical episode shortly after 9 a.m. Monday.
The car hit a barrier, kicking up dust, before crossing the road and hitting a guardrail near the Cawthra Road exit. Lauar was driving behind the car and captured the collision on his dash cam.
As the vehicle turned into a grassy median, Lauar said he stopped his car to check on the driver.
“I knew it was going to crash eventually,” Lauar said. “My first thought when I saw that happen (was) ‘when he stops, we have to take him home.'”
Lauar, seen in the navy blue T-shirt in the video, said he managed to open a passenger door and stuck his head into the smoking car to find the driver unresponsive.
“It looked shattered, (there were) air pockets everywhere,” Lauar said.
Ben Sykes, in the white hoodie, tried to kick out the driver’s side window. As more smoke billowed out of the vehicle, Lauar said he tried to unbuckle the driver’s seat belt without success.
That’s when Lauar said a passing driver yelled at the men, “Fire!”
In the rush to try to get the driver out and break the windows, the men did not realize that the grass around the car was on fire and flames had started to shoot out from under the car. Lauar said that kicked his efforts into high gear.
“There was a lot of adrenaline running through my body at the time. I was scared, but I put it aside,” Lauar said.
Lauar said another passerby handed one of the rescuers a hammer to try to break the driver’s window. They were eventually able to break through using a jack and opened the car doors, Lauar said.
Lauar said Sykes “went through the fire” to unbuckle the driver’s seat belt. Lauar and another man pulled the driver out of the car.
Seconds later, Lauar said, the car was completely engulfed in flames.
“It was just a moment of disbelief because it all happened so fast,” Lauar said. “It looked like a movie.”
Ontario Provincial Police said the driver was taken to hospital with minor burns. They said the driver had suffered a medical episode.
“If I ever find myself in a similar situation, I hope these guys are driving behind me,” Schmidt said.
“They are absolute heroes.”
JOIN THE CONVERSATION