A California garbage man who rescued an elderly woman stranded along his route as flames closed in says he is not a hero, though that's not stopping people from referring to him as such.
As hundreds of residents were fleeing the horrific fire that engulfed the town of Paradise in Northern California, Dane Ray Cummings was driving toward the flames.
“My route manager called told me and told me the fire was coming and to get the hell out of there,” Cummings told Inside Edition. But he was worried about the many senior residents along his route, many of whom he's come to know and worried would not be able to get out on their own.
“It just started getting worse, more hectic, more people were coming out,” he said of the hoards fleeing the town, which was ultimately totally consumed by the flames.
But as he drove along, he noticed 93-year-old Margaret Newsum stranded on her doorstep. She was recovering from a broken back and had no means of escape.
Cummings slowly loaded her into his truck and they raced off as flames tore through town. Newsum, a former backup singer for Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., has seen a lot in her 93 years, but said nothing compared to the fiery nightmare she saw as they fled Paradise.
“It was like we were entering the bowels of Hell,” she told Inside Edition.
Cummings said he was initially worried about giving a passenger a ride, which is against company policy. But Newsum said the company can't possibly fault him for saving her life. “There was too much publicity. They didn't dare get mad at him,” she said.
Turning to Cummings, she added, “You are the most wonderful creature that God produced.”