A waitress at a New Jersey diner is being credited with quick thinking after she pulled a regular customer from his car just moments before the car burst into flames.
Angela Avenarius told WCAU News that she recognized 86-year-old Charlie Flowers and his red Chevrolet Impala when he pulled into a parking space at Bridgeton Family Diner Thursday. She saw that there was smoke pouring out from under the hood of his car.
“It looked like it was overheating at first and I told him to come out of the car but he didn't get out of the car,” Avenarius told NJ.com.
Flowers told WCAU that he didn’t have time to process what was going on.
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“I didn’t know what, but I knew something was wrong,” he said.
“I could see steam coming from under the hood,” he added. “I saw it and didn’t know what it was all about. They said, ‘You better get out of there buddy,’ and they helped me out.”
Avenarius pulled Flowers from the car and they took shelter under the diner’s awning.
"By the time we got under the canopy, [the car] caught on fire," Avenarius told NJ.com.
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“It was really dangerous I thought the car might explode,” she added to WCAU.
She told other diner patrons to stand away from the restaurant’s windows in case of an explosion.
Fire fighters arrived shortly after and worked for a little over 30 minutes to put out the flames. The fire did not spread and nothing else was damaged, according to NJ.com.
Flowers thanked Avenarius for her quick thinking.
“Angela, I want to thank you,” he said during a phone call. “I don’t know where I’d be with out you.”
Flowers said his insurance will cover the damage. He stayed for lunch Thursday and returned for lunch Friday as well.
Photo credit: Angela Avenarius via WCAU News