Off-duty firefighters and citizen heroes band together to save family from burning van

This is an absolutely awesome story of heroism coming from three off-duty firefighters and citizens in a community in Milwaukee, WI teaming up together to save a mother and her two young children from a burning van:

A woman from Tennessee lost control of her van and crashed into a tree.

Neighbors rushed to help — some broke windows, others grabbed garden hoses.

When Jerry Lepkowski saw the smoke and flames, he grabbed his video camera and ran toward the action. He had no idea he was about to record an amazing and heroic rescue.

Neighbors and drivers were the first people on the scene. Almost immediately, they pulled a little girl from the burning minivan, but that was just the beginning.

With the girl’s mother and brother trapped inside, two men banged at the van’s window with metal pipes until it broke apart, freeing the mother.

That’s when two off-duty firefighters showed up and — with a child still inside — they rushed into the burning car.

Despite the lack of protective clothes and the blistering heat, the men scrambled to free the child from a seatbelt.

As the fire grew, an off-duty Milwaukee Police lieutenant showed up with two fire extinguishers, and neighbors rushed in with garden hoses.

Another 20 seconds passed and, just as it looked like the car was going to burn up, one of the firefighters freed the 4-year-old boy.

He was badly burned, but alive, and was rushed away from the flames and sprayed down with cold water.

Neighbors said they were amazed everyone survived.

“I would do it for my kids, so that’s why I stopped to get in there,” Lepkowski said. “I’m still shaken, you know, but I’ll never forget it.”

I won’t either, especially not after watching the video, which you can also watch below along with an interview CNN’s Headline News did with two of the firefighters:

Hats off to all involved. Jobs well done.

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