BELOIT (WKOW) -- A pair of good Samaritans is being credited with saving an elderly couple from a burning car Wednesday.
It happened near Beloit's Henry Avenue Bridge.
Jim Fregeau said he and his wife were driving on Henry Avenue towards the bridge when their 2006 Chevrolet Equinox lost power.
Fregeau said the doors and windows would not open. He also said smoke was emanating from the car's air vents.
Fregeau said his wife, who uses an oxygen tank, was panicking and needed fresh air. Brendon Golden, of Beloit, said he saw the couple sitting in the road with no hazard flashers on. He instructed Fregeau to shift the vehicle into neutral and worked to push the SUV off the road.
Golden said he also noticed smoke coming from under the hood.
"I thought it was just a routine radiator running hot," Golden said. "But when I opened the hood I saw the car was on fire. So I called 911."
While Golden was on the phone with dispatchers, he flagged down a second passerby named Kerry Mann.
Golden said Mann used a rock to break one of the SUV's windows and extricate Fregeau and his wife.
"For those two individuals that stepped up and did that, that was an outstanding act of kindness and of heroism," said Deputy Fire Chief Joe Murray.
Murray said the fire would have likely spread from the engine and into the passenger cab "within another two to three minutes."
"Thank God they did get out," Murray said.
Murray said car fires like Wednesday's can often be fatal because material used to build modern vehicles can be toxic when inhaled with smoke. He said the cause of the fire was electrical.
Murray added Mann and Golden didn't ask for credit or thank-you's at the scene.
"In fact, I needed to call Mr. Golden back to the scene," Murray said. "He had just started walking away and not really wanting any recognition."
"But somebody like that, he deserves a little recognition for doing something extraordinary," Murray added.
"The gentleman came up and talked to me and thanked me and that's all that was needed," Golden said. "No big deal."
Fregeau said by phone Thursday that he and his wife are both unharmed. They will be picking up a rental car Friday.
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