Children and grandmother escape car fire and explosion on I-95

Posted at 11:24 AM, Dec 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-03 11:51:35-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A grandmother and her family were able to escape their burning car on Interstate 95 north in Chesterfield. The fire closed northbound lanes of I-95, south of Route 10 (mile marker 60), for about an hour Tuesday morning. Lanes reopened by noon.

Video taken at the scene showed the car burning along the side of I-95. An explosion and flash of fire can be seen at the :08 mark of this video.

The grandmother, and her two granddaughters, ages 18 and 21, along with a two-year old, made it out of the car unharmed, thanks to the help of strangers.

Butch Branzelle and Chris Bielmyer were headed to work when they said they smelled something burning and realized it was coming from the grandmother's car. They said that not only was smoke coming from it, there was also fire shooting out from underneath.

"We're coming in behind another vehicle, that had smoke starting to come, almost oil-smoke coming from the vehicle," said Bielmyer. ""He said 'that things getting ready to blow' and at that point, I looked and I actually could see the asphalt glowing under it."

His frantic efforts were noticed and they pulled over and exited the vehicle.

That's when Red Cross worker Suzi George saw the flames pulled over to help. "I think he saved their lives, because there was no way they could see it, the fire," she said.

"I thank them, cause if he wouldn't have did it, we would have been trapped in there, and we wouldn't have seen tomorrow," said Tiffany Cole, who was driving the fiery car.

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