LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Henderson man says he is not a hero after he witnessed a vehicle burst into flames on US 95 at Auto Show Drive and managed to save a woman who was trapped inside.
The rescue was caught on a Henderson Police vehicle dash camera last year, but a lot of the details, including the identities of most of the people involved, are still a mystery.
It was supposed to be a typical ride back to work from lunch, but for Stephen Ray, he was about to get himself into a dangerous situation.
"It just went poof, and there was a trail of flames behind the car for 10 feet," explained Ray as he watched an axle snap on an SUV in front of him.
Ray says something must have punctured the gas tank because the vehicle became an instant fireball on the highway.
"Once they stopped, I just couldn't believe how fast it engulfed the car," said Ray.
Ray pulled just in front of the scene and then ran back to the burning SUV.
The driver was able to escape, but the flames trapped her mother in the passenger seat.
"That is when my arms and legs were getting burned, and I couldn't get her out," said Ray.
"She was fighting me because she didn't want to get into the fire so she was pushing back and I stepped back and thought 'she isn't going to make it," added Ray.
But that's when the SUV released one of several explosions, and the driver screamed for her mother to get out.
"It was like slow-motion, it felt like it took forever to get her out of the car," explained Ray.
Ray ran to the driver's side, and the Henderson Police dashboard camera shows Ray diving into the vehicle and pulling the woman from the passenger side and out of the car.
A second driver can be seen grabbing the woman's legs and helping her to safety as the flames grew.
"Once we were off to the side of the road, there's stuff popping and blowing, and the fire was getting bigger and bigger," explained Ray.
The video shows the Henderson Police officer running to make sure everyone was out of the vehicle and blocking lanes of freeway traffic.
The Henderson Fire Department can be seen in the video arriving to make quick work of the flames.
Ray says medical personnel took the mother and daughter to the hospital.
"I called the hospital, and they said they couldn't release information, and I said, "did she make it?" and they said she was alive but couldn't give any details about her condition," said Ray.
Ray says he suffered blisters on his arms from the fire and was evaluated for possible smoke inhalation.
Even months later, he says he deals with a lingering cough.
As it turns out, Ray has faced danger before.
A couple of years ago, he was leaving his house to go to the store when he saw his next door neighbor's house on fire.
"There was no thought involved in that, I saw the flames, and the smoke and all I could think of was their kids," said Ray.
Ray says he banged on the door and was able to get all five family members, including three children out of the home in time.
"[A firefighter] came over and he said 'seconds matter, they really do, and as I was pulling in front of the ladies from the car fire, that was ringing in my head," said Ray.
Ray does not consider himself a hero, but when the seconds mattered, he saved lives when it mattered most.
"I just did what needed to be done," Ray said.