Mesa man rescued by strangers from burning car

MESA, AZ - A Mesa man has two strangers to thank for saving his life after they spotted his car on fire and pulled him from the flames Monday. 

Tim Mulrooney says he was driving down University Drive to an appointment when he saw a plume of smoke coming from the side of a house near Crismon Road.

Javier Valenzuela had just left a landscaping job in the area and decided to drive a new route when he spotted the same column of smoke.

The two men ran to the door of the home and tried banging on the windows to alert anyone inside that the car on the side of the house was going up in flames. 

When no one answered, they ran to a fence blocking the burning car and that's when the two saw a man's leg outside of the driver's side door.

"There was a guy just hunched over in the car" Mulrooney said.

Both men describe large flames, shooting from the hood of the car, which they say was propped up. The two pulled a chain holding the fence closed and ran to the man's side where heavy smoke was now pouring out of the car windows.

"I didn't know him, he didn't know me. We just had one goal in mind and that was to make sure everyone was OK," Mulrooney said.

They each grabbed an arm and pulled the man about 30 feet down the driveway, so he was safely away from the flames. 

Mulrooney, who has been trained to perform CPR but never has had to use it, started rescue breaths and compressions.

Meantime, Valenzuela ran to grab a hose and started spraying down the car and the side of the house where the flames were now licking the eaves.

"You don't put water, maybe it blows up the gas tank," Valenzuela said. "So I'm real scared, the guy is real close, I'm even closer."

Another neighbor who also saw the smoke and flames started to help put the fire out with another garden hose. 

Medics eventually showed up and took over CPR efforts, rushing the man to the burn center at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix where he remains in critical condition. Firefighters put out the rest of the flames.

Mulrooney says he's not a hero. He just saw a person in need and did what was right, something he believes more people should do.

"I think we were able to work together and hopefully save somebody's life. Hopefully he pulls through and if he does I'll be looking out for him."

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