Good Samaritans rescue woman from burning vehicle in Suffolk County

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Monday, June 24, 2024
Good Samaritans rescue woman from burning vehicle
CeFaan Kim has the details after good Samaritans rescue a woman from a burning car on Long Island

FORT SALONGA, Long Island (WABC) -- Half a dozen good Samaritans jumped into action to help pull a woman to safety from a burning vehicle over the weekend.

It happened Sunday just before 6 p.m. at Bread and Cheese Hollow Road, north of Pulaski Street.

Tempestt Harris-Buckner, 33, was driving northbound on Bread and Cheese Hollow Road when she swerved to avoid hitting an animal. Her car struck a utility pole and both the pole and her vehicle caught fire.

Michael Susinno was two cars behind her when it happened. When he got to her the car wasn't on fire, but seconds later the flames were 15 feet high and the utility pole exploded.

There was no time to think and he said the good Samaritans had to act.

"We had no choice because now the flames were towards the windshield," Susinno said. "We could feel the heat. We had to pull her out of the car and across the street, where we laid her down. And that was the moment the car became fully engulfed in flames."

Sussino and a neighbor pulled the driver out.

"We approached the window which was down and she responded to us, we said we're so sorry, we're gonna have to get you out of the car, the car is on fire," Sussino said. "And she shared that she was having difficulty breathing. Her chest hurt. The airbag had hit her in the face. And that her leg was badly broken."

Moments later Michel Pitre arrived n the scene. He said he could hear popping noises and mini explosions.

He applied a tourniquet on the victim's leg. He is a medical malpractice attorney and he had never done it before, but back in high school he wanted to be a doctor so he took CPR classes.

"Due to the severity of the laceration and the amount of blood loss, my fear was that we had to stop the bleeding," Pitre said.

Sussino, the Northport High School Orchestra director, said he recognized the victim when he asked her name as a former student from 20 yeas ago.

"I said 'you don't know me, my name is Mr. Susinno, I'm one of your former teachers and you played the cello,' and as soon as I said the word cello her eyes looked up and she looked at me," Sussino said. "And we were able to comfort her, tell her that she was going to be OK, we asked her not to look at her leg."

The victim was taken to the hospital and is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The victim's mother also works at Northport High School and Sussino said he sees her every day at work.

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