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Man Who Saved Stranger From Burning Car Hailed a Hero: 'Man, I Hope It Doesn't Blow Up'


If it wasn't for this Good Samaritan's heroic deeds, a man inside a burning vehicle may not have lived to see another day.

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Surveillance footage shows a car pulling up to a California bank at about 4:00 p.m. last Saturday, Sergeant James Jensen from the Santa Clara Sheriff's Office told InsideEdition.com.

"You can see [the driver] exit the vehicle, and come back with more alcohol —  there is a liquor store nearby," Jensen said. 

Next, Jensen said the man could be seen throwing what appears to be alcohol containers from the window of the car, that was parked but running.

That's when Good Samaritans Aram Harutyunyan and Leo Pekker, who were on their way to lunch, noticed smoke coming out of the car.

Harutyunyan, 30, told InsideEdition.com that he and his friend were frequent diners at the barbeque restaurant, but what they saw next was a first for both of them.

"Aram saw the guy's leg sticking out of the car and immediately started walking toward it," Pekker told InsideEdition.com. "There were a lot of spectators, but nobody would help the unconscious man."

Pekker said that he could feel a lot of heat and hear hissing coming from the car, even though he filmed his friend from afar: "It sounded like it would blow up any second." 

"That's the thing in your mind that takes all your concentration," Harutyunyan told InsideEdition.com. "Man, I hope it doesn't blow up." 

Moments later, Pekker put down his camera and helped his friend carry the man out of the smoking car, moments before it eurupted into flames.

"It was very dangerous," Jensen said. "The car was on fire."

Pekker said, "I asked the man "What Happened"? He was incomprehensive, looking around and was not sure what happened to him."

"I pulled him all the way to the curb, he looks fine, and we knew the police and firefighters are going to come," Harutyunyan said. "I said, 'Take care,' and I just went to lunch." 

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One of the bystanders had called 911, and the man was then arrested and charged for driving under the influence and arson

"We plan on giving our heroic citizen an accomodation plaque at the very minimum," Jensen said. "He's a good citizen, brave. He saved a life, while potentially putting his life in danger."

"We were sitting and eating already when everybody arrived," said Harutyunyan, who avoids the term 'hero.' "I'm shy, I don't like the attention."

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