Porterville residents save woman from burning car


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The daring rescue happened on Avenue 184, east of Road 196, Monday afternoon.

Teresa Avila didn't think she would be able to get out of her car in time, but she is alive because of three people.

Jospeh and Nelly Barrientos and Alfredo Ortiz-Hernandez, complete strangers who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Joseph remembers seeing the car catch on fire then he and Alfredo running out to help the driver, while Nelly called 9-1-1.

But it wasn't that easy, the doors wouldn't budge.

That's when Teresa's rescuers told her to pop her trunk open so they could find something to break the window with.

Alfredo said, "I went to the back pulled the jack out and started bashing the window."

"They just kept hitting the window and it wouldn't break," said Teresa. "Then one of them kicked it eventually they had a little gap open and I was able to break through that."

Teresa has cuts and scrapes from squeezing through the glass, just in time for her rescuers to get her to safety, before the fire completely devoured her car.

"I just wanted to thank them again because it's amazing," said Teresa. "I know if they weren't here no one would've been able to get me out of my car."

The California Highway Patrol is looking for an SUV that caused the accident. They say it's a blue or gray jeep that's a 80s or 980s model. The driver is a woman in her thirties with sunglasses, and she was headed north.

If you have any information you're asked to call law enforcement immediately.

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