CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- For the first time, WINK News is hearing from the heroes who helped save three people's lives Thursday morning. A car and a van collided, the van burst into flames and trapped three people inside. The bystanders that helped pull people from the burning van said they were doing what they had to. They just hope if it happened to them, someone would return the favor.
"When I ran up to the van, I started to pull on the door because the hood was in flames," said Cindy Smith, who pulled people from the burning van.
On Thursday morning, Smith decided to take a different way home after dropping her daughter off at school.
"I just started punching the window and the window wasn't budging," said Smith.
It was on that different way home, along Veterans and Surfside in Cape Coral, Smith found herself saving lives.
"God put me there. He put me there. Like I said, I never take that road," said Smith.
Just before 7 a.m., a car and van collided. The van burst into flames. Right in front of her eyes, Smith saw it all and didn't think twice.
"My adrenaline first kicked in, my human nature kicked in and I'm a mother and when I see kids, I would want someone to do it for me," said Smith.
Inside the burning van, three women, unable to get out. Smith along with another good samaritan, Michael Hernandez, feverishly did what they could.
"As we tried to get people out and see what was going on, then the car just erupted into flames," said Hernandez.
Smith, Hernandez and others, pulled the three out of harms way. They waited with EMS crews until the three inside the van were taken to the hospital. When you ask Smith if she's a hero? She will tell you no.
"I would just call myself a human being and having compassion for my fellow man," said Smith.
Five people in total were taken to Lee Memorial Hospital, including an off-duty Lee County Sheriff's Office Deputy. The sheriff's office told WINK News the deputy had his protective gear on and he's recovering at home. No word yet on the conditions of the others.