The woman quickly befriends the good Samaritan who rescued her from a raging car fire

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By Rachel Wulff

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ROSEVILLE, California (KOVR) – A Good Samaritan saved a woman’s life with his quick thinking along I-80 near Roseville.

Flames completely engulfed the woman’s car at the Riverside Avenue exit.

“I think God just put me in the right place at the right time,” said Elton Ward.

Ward was driving with his six-year-old daughter when he saw the fire in the car.

“When I get there, I see Kristine and she’s struggling to get out of the car,” Ward said. “That’s when my adrenaline started pumping, ‘We’ve got to get her out of here.’ ”

Kristine Smith – who recently had knee surgery – was trapped inside. Her husband and granddaughter, both of whom had already fled, could not reach her.

“So my first instinct was, ‘Pick up your purse, unlock the door and step out the door,'” Smith said. “But I couldn’t, so I said, ‘Okay, God. It’s me and you’ because I was about to open the door and the flames lit up and I was like, ‘Okay, clear a path.’ And that’s when I looked up and my little angel here said, ‘Let me help you.’ ”

Ward reached out to grab her and pulled her away from the raging inferno.

“I didn’t panic. I wasn’t scared,” Smith said. “I was very calm. When I collapsed, that was after.”

Ward and Smith quickly became friends.

“Elton is a part of our family now and our kids texted him,” Smith said.

The two couldn’t be more different, but actually they are the same.

“It could have been my little sister, my daughter, my grandma, my grandpa,” Ward said.

Smith and her family are grateful and want to share the story to unite us at a time when we are so divided.

“We always see all these violent things in our young people,” Smith said. “Well, that’s an example of a young person who didn’t think of himself.”

“Everyone is our family in a way, because that’s someone else’s family and you want your family to be protected,” Ward said. “So that’s how I see things.”

Smith says the fire started when her husband drove over a large package of flammable insulation lying on the roadway. She suspects it burned with the car’s catalytic converter.

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