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MA National Guard member saves woman from burning vehicle

STERLING — A Massachusetts National Guard soldier is being credited with rescuing a woman from a burning car and saving her life.

According to the National Guard, Spc. Ryan Leger was driving in Sterling with his wife back on Nov. 2 when they decided to pull over near the North Dike Wachusett Reservoir to take pictures. As they were walking back to the car, Leger noticed rocks being kicked up from the ground. He looked up to see a vehicle driving between what he says was 60-70 mph, swerving and trying to stop.

Leger says the vehicle side-swiped two vehicles, bounced off guard rails on both sides of the road, then hit another car with a family inside head-on before hitting the guard rail again and coming to a stop.

Once the vehicle was stopped, flames immediately sparked out of the engine. Spc. Leger ran to the vehicle fire and found the driver pushed into the passenger seat. He managed to rip the door open and quickly carried the woman away from the vehicle as the fire continued to spread.

A nurse who was driving by also stopped and helped Spc. Leger with the woman until first responders arrived. Leger also helped direct traffic away from the fire.

No one was seriously injured in the crash.

Spc. Leger said he heard from the woman he rescued, who said she was grateful to have a second chance.

“I’m not sure what would have happened if we weren’t there,” Spc. Leger said. “As weird as it sounds, it felt like second instinct. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t scared. The only thing that went through my mind at the time was, ‘you need to get them out of there now.”

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