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Woman rescued after lightning strike traps her in burning car

Woman Rescued After Lightning Strike Traps Her In Burning Car

A good Samaritan and a police officer saved a Minnesota woman's life May 7th when lightning struck her vehicle and it burst into flames.


KEYC reports Anna Smith was driving down a highway near Lake Crystal when her car stalled. She called for help and told police her car had died. An officer was sent to help.

Moments after the call, a bolt of lightning struck Anna's vehicle, engulfing it in flames. The shock killed the car's electricity, locking the doors and trapping Anna inside.

Footage from a dash cam released by the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department shows Officer Chris Burban racing to save Anna.

"The whole thing until I got her back to my car was I've got to get her out, and again, nobody is burning to death if I can help it."

Michael Smith, 18, who is not related to Anna Smith, was driving by when he saw the car burst into flames and the officer breaking the window to get Anna out.

That's Michael running across the road to help, as KMSP reports, Officer Burban.

"The whole thing was going to go I thought, so I wanted to get her out as quick as possible. I didn't know how long she had."

The two men worked together to pull Anna from the vehicle and to safety. Unbelievably, the three only suffered minor cuts.

Ironically though, before it burst into flames, the car was offering Anna some protection.

According to Accuweather.com, a fully enclosed metal vehicle is one of the safest places to be during a lightning storm. In fact, if you're driving, it's best to pull to the side of the road and wait out the storm. Make sure not to touch anything inside the vehicle.

As for Anna and the men who rescued her, this story of bad luck turned good is likely one they'll never forget.

Join the discussion

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Bernie May 18 2014 at 12:53 PM

Kudos to a truly dutiful policeman and a totally responsible teen…..

Flag Reply +13 rate up
Dan May 18 2014 at 10:40 AM

I find it ironic that people jump on the band wagons to find fault in something that had nothing to do with another. Ask the question why the car stalled? Maybe it had an electrical problem causing it to die, bad alternator, bad battery, maybe the doors were locked because the car died and the person was just scared until help came??? Case in point, if this happened to anyone would they be able to say the doors were unlocked/locked prior to the horrific noise and happenings that just took place? I doubt it but hey who knows???? Leave it for what it is. People helped people and saved a life....... Good Day for the person inside the car......

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
RSHta Dan May 18 2014 at 2:14 PM

YEA......SOMEONE WITH A HEAD ON THEIR SHOULDERS......NO SPECULATION HERE..............THANK YOU

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Joycene May 18 2014 at 2:19 PM

This young man, Michael Smith, is to commended, as should his parents for raising such a worthy young man. He certainly gives me more confidence for the future of our country. Few people anymore understand that the conditions of others are also their concern.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
kayfordbc May 18 2014 at 10:27 AM

YOU CAN BUY AN INEXPENSIVE HAMMER-LIKE DEVICE TO KEEP IN YOUR CAR FOR THESE ENTRAPMENT SITUATIONS. IT WILL EASILY BREAK A SIDE WINDOW. THE SAME WILL HAPPEN IF YOUR CAR PARTIALLY OR FULLY SUBMERGES. AUTOMOTIVE STORES CARRY THEM.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
hokanut kayfordbc May 18 2014 at 11:52 AM

It's called a spring punch. It's a tool to make a small pit in metal before drilling to prevent the drill bit from drifting while spinning. And it makes a great tempered glass breaker. Also fun at parties.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
yeskeya hokanut May 18 2014 at 1:56 PM

Also on a rescue hammer and on my EMT knife. Not just a spring punch.

Flag 0 rate up
mramirez258 May 18 2014 at 3:09 PM

the young man is to be commended he was raise rite and the officer both saved the woman well don men

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
fsnlb mramirez258 May 18 2014 at 3:20 PM

What do you think GM controls lightning

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Pam May 18 2014 at 4:33 PM

My thanks to both of these men for risking their lives to save this woman. So nice to hear about caring people in this world of so much negative news.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
schneiderc732 May 18 2014 at 9:40 AM

Thank heaven for people who care enough to stop and help.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Dennis Faulkner May 18 2014 at 1:15 PM

I think it is important for everyone to remember that you should be able to manually move the lock lever, or pull the door handle (as in my 99 Mustang) and get out without the power door locks working - Not sure if this always works on all cars, but it should be a safety requirement - and I think often we forget about how do things manually -

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
dickn2000b Dennis Faulkner May 18 2014 at 2:53 PM

No human male should ever forget how to things manually.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
Monica dickn2000b May 18 2014 at 3:53 PM

amen! :D

Flag 0 rate up
rick dickn2000b May 18 2014 at 4:33 PM

and that goes for monica as well.....

Flag 0 rate up
mo524 Dennis Faulkner May 18 2014 at 8:08 PM

You do understand with that kind of heat it is very likely the locks melted so there would be no way to unlock it right?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
FREEDOM OF SPEECH May 18 2014 at 7:43 AM

She could have till unlocked the car. All cars stil have a manuel unlock

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
tstillkickin FREEDOM OF SPEECH May 18 2014 at 9:13 AM

Cars have a "manuel" unlock? HUH? Why not go out to your car, if you have one and it's not 25 years old. Try to pull your door locks up with your fingers.......what? Can't get a grip? That's to help make it difficult for thieves to do the same thing from the outside. If you have a "manuel" unlock in your car, I'd like to hear more about it. The door locks on cars in the 90's and since, are electric.......and any button you have to operate them, is connected to the electrical system in the vehicle, therefore, this lady had no option but to break the glass to get out.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
yeskeya tstillkickin May 18 2014 at 2:02 PM

I have a 2000 sports car, and gee.... I can unlock my doors with the knobs. And SHE didn't break the glass. She sat there and needed to be rescued. Who calls the cops when their car stalls?

Flag 0 rate up
abacobandit tstillkickin May 18 2014 at 4:48 PM

Now you go try this - simply lift the door handle on the inside and the door will open even if locked.

Flag +1 rate up
chris1243 FREEDOM OF SPEECH May 18 2014 at 9:14 AM

Not so. The "Manual Lock" requires electricity to lock and unlock the doors. If the doors lock automatically when you shut the doors, and you don't release them (Leave them locked), if the power is lost, they may stay locked and there is no way to release them from the outside. And who thinks of that when it is an emergency and you are trying to get out? And you find all the doors locked? Or, you are dazed and almost or are unconscious?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
chknpkr May 18 2014 at 7:25 PM

Can not read any more than this post:

allnightradioman says; "The dumb B should have been able to manually unlock the doors and get out - just like when people think their locked in a trunk!"

You are one dumb ignorant person to say that. If you open your foolish mouth to say anything, it ought to be how brave the LEO & young man were to risk their lives to rescue this young lady from her car in flames. Why don't you shut your mouth if you can not be polite. I'm sure you are the type of person that would have kept on driving by & waatch this woman perish.

I can not believe all the trash many people have to say regarding this incident & so many other things I read everyday. If it was legai I would line everyone of you fools up & shove my foot so far up ya'll a*ss%s that you would be wearring my toes for teeth!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
cact25 chknpkr May 18 2014 at 9:49 PM

allnightradioman is just an inbred moron.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
vigoddess chknpkr May 19 2014 at 12:10 AM

Now, If I said that, Huffington Post, and AOL would have a fit!, so you are lucky you blew your top at the expense
of others. There is always a voice of dissent; of ignorance; and people that can't see outside of themselves.
There are also a morning group of racists reporting everyday as the same children in a playground that
followed a bully to make everybody's life miserable because they couldn't be happy, but in spite of it all,
there is a silent majority that see these two men as heros to help someone, and there are many who would
do the same thing. We have men and women daily at risk of losing their lives because they are protecting
us, and we have many grandparents and friends who come forward when times are bad, so you have a
choice to respect and honor those and keep your values alive, for one day those same people who live in
a world of me, myself and I, will cry for help and someone will be there because that always happens down
the road.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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