PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — An elderly woman is being treated in a local hospital for burns after her car caught fire off 23rd Street in Panama City earlier this morning.
Panama City firefighters responded to the call at 9:45.
First to the scene was a former firefighter named Wayne Gay, a local hero.
He rescued the elderly woman from her burning car Tuesday morning.
“And the first thing she said is I lost my shoes,” Gay said.
Gay was at HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital in Panama City visiting his mom when he saw the woman, who he said was named Dorothy, run over a curb in the parking lot.
“The gentleman was a past fireman and saw the incident and reacted and was able to remove the occupant before she could be severely injured,” PCFD Battalion Chief Chris Burger said.
At first, Gay was just trying to help Dorothy get her car unstuck. Then a fire started to erupt.
“She kept reversing and everything got hot and caught fire,” Gay said. “By the time I could get to my truck it was already coming up over the doors.”
Gay reacted quickly.
“I couldn’t get one leg out of the pedal so I just hooked her in the arms and snatched her out,” Gay said.
Just a minute later the car exploded.
But Dorothy was already on her way to the nearby emergency room. Gay was in the driver’s seat.
After talking with police officials Gay said he had one thing let to do before visiting his mom in the hospital– check on the newest HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital patient.
“I had to apologize I snatched her out so hard,” Gay said.
The local hero suffered a minor burn. He said he was just glad to be there when everything happened.
A previous version of this story can be found below:
A good Samaritan rescued a woman from a fiery crash in the parking lot of HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital Tuesday morning.
Panama City Fire Department officials said a woman drove over a curb around 9:30 a.m. and struck another vehicle. A bystander, a former firefighter in the Bayou George area, spotted the incident and ran to help.
Firefighters said he had difficulty getting the woman out of her SUV but was able to extract her shortly before the vehicle exploded. The man, who was there visiting his mom, then rushed her inside the hospital for treatment.
Several other vehicles caught fire after the SUV exploded. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze shortly after they arrived on scene.