Bloomington, MN-- An elderly St. Paul couple is alive, thanks to the compassion and bravery of strangers. Those strangers saved the couple from a terrible car fire on Highway 77 North near the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport Tuesday afternoon.
"All of a sudden, I heard a funny noise, like a bang," said Jack Nentwig, who is almost 90 years old, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. He was driving his wife Betty, 92, to an eye doctor appointment, when their 1994 Oldsmobile went up in flames. He pulled over to the side of the highway.
Traffic cameras caught the first sign of trouble, and at that exact moment, fate put Seth Perrier in their path. The Army reserves sergeant was on his way to his job as a personal trainer, and his military training kicked in. He was deployed in Kuwait, and noticed the smoke and flames from the Nentwigs' car right away.
"The only other time I've seen a car go up like that was overseas," said Perrier. "They weren't making any attempt to get out, weren't moving."
Perrier said three other drivers pulled over, and together the strangers helped the couple out of the burning car.
"Reached out and pulled the woman across the passenger seat, the other side you couldn't get in," Perrier said.
"Well that was amazing, he just grabbed me," said Betty Nentwig, who said she only suffered from high blood pressure and singed hair after a visit to United Hospital.
Perrier snapped a photo as the car burned to the ground moments later, leaving a fiery black plume above the freeway.
"As soon as we got them out, you heard the tires hissing and popping, you heard the gas tank start to go," he said.
The Nentwigs aren't sure yet what caused the fire or if they will replace their only car, but Betty Nentwig says she needs another walker to get around. It burned in the backseat of the car.
Whether aboard, or at home, Perrier says kindness is the most important service of all.
"When it comes down to it, my dad raised me right, you see somebody who needs help, you help them regardless," he said. "If it was my Grandma out there, either one of them, I would hope to God somebody would stop and help them."