When Santiago Portillo, a mattress store manager in Riverside, California, saw a car on fire outside his office’s window, he couldn’t believe his eyes at first.
"It looked unreal,” he said.
Portillo had heard the loud impact and when he saw the flames, he immediately ran outside and took out his cell phone.
"I saw an arm hanging out the window and a sweater," he added. “I saw a life in there.”
Putting his phone on recording mode, Portillo leapt toward the burning Honda and grabbed the unconscious driver.
"I was thinking about the car maybe exploding," he said. "I wanted to get him out before it exploded and then we would have both been in a real mess."
Later, a bystander helped the two men move farther from the flames.
The driver has been identified as Ricardo Nunez. Several witnesses told the police that accident occurred as a result of street racing.
After Portillo’s daughters called him a hero to risk his own safety to rescue a stranger, he insisted he was not.
"I'm not a hero, I'm just a human being," Portillo said. "I'll do it all over again for anybody."