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Good Samaritans from Suffolk County rescue woman from burning vehicle in Fort Salonga, Long Island
Good Samaritans from Suffolk County rescue woman from burning vehicle in Fort Salonga, Long Island

FORT SALONGA, Long Island (WABC) – Half a dozen Good Samaritans rushed to help rescue a woman from a burning vehicle over the weekend.

It happened just before 6 p.m. on Sunday on Bread and Cheese Hollow Road, north of Pulaski Street.

Tempestt Harris-Buckner, 33, was driving north on Bread and Cheese Hollow Road when she swerved to avoid an animal. Her car struck a power pole and both the pole and her vehicle caught fire.

Michael Susinno was two cars behind her when it happened. When he got to her, the car wasn’t on fire, but seconds later, flames were 15 feet high and the power pole exploded.

There was no time to think and he said the Good Samaritans had to act.

“We had no choice because now the flames were pointing at the windshield,” Susinno said. “We could feel the heat. We had to pull her out of the car and lay her across the road where we laid her down. And at that moment the car was completely engulfed in flames.”

Sussino and a neighbor pulled the driver out.

“We approached the rolled down window and she answered us: ‘We are so sorry, we have to get you out of the car, the car is burning,'” Sussino said. “And she told us that she was having trouble breathing. Her chest hurt. The airbag had hit her in the face. And that her leg was badly broken.”

A moment later, Michel Pitre arrived at the scene of the accident. He said he heard bangs and small explosions.

He applied a tourniquet to the victim’s leg. He’s a medical malpractice attorney and had never done this before, but when he wanted to be a doctor in high school, he took a CPR class.

“Due to the severity of the cut and the blood loss, I was afraid we would have to stop the bleeding,” Pitre said.

Sussino, the director of the Northport High School orchestra, said he recognized the victim as a former student from 20 years ago when he asked her name.

“I said, ‘You don’t know me, my name is Mr. Susinno, I’m one of your former teachers and you played the cello,’ and as soon as I said the word cello, she looked up and looked at me,” Sussino said. “And we were able to comfort her, tell her she was going to be OK, and we asked her not to look at her leg.”

The victim was taken to hospital and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The victim’s mother also works at Northport High School and Sussino said he sees her at work every day.

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By Isla