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South Jersey Woman Thanks Heroes Who Saved Her Life During Car Fire

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By Robin Rieger

DELRAN, NJ (CBS) – Twenty-five-year-old Ashaunte Norman says she doesn’t recall much about the accident that knocked her unconscious and set her car on fire at the Route 130 and Fair View Boulevard intersection in Delran. But she does know how much she appreciates the second chance she got and the ability to personally thank those who made it happen.

“I really am thankful God gave them the courage to be there,” Norman says.

Norman, of Willingboro, says she knows how close she came to dying while trapped in her burning Mitsubishi Eclipse after it was hit by two cars at the end of August.

“I don’t even remember getting hit. I was just knocked unconscious,” she explains.

Police dash-cam video shows patrolmen Fred Irons, Joseph Vasbinder and Jeffrey Hamlet working frantically to free her from the burning car as two Good Samaritans try to extinguish the fire.

“The doors were jammed, I was caught by the seatbelt, and my feet were caught underneath,” Norman says.

An EMT cut her free, and they got her out just in time.

“Twelve seconds later, the car ignited, it blew up,” Norman recalls.

She’s amazed they put their own lives on the line.

“Their primary focus was, we need to save this young woman, and I’m so grateful that they took that risk in helping save my life,” Norman says.

She suffered third degree burns on her legs and a concussion. Norman watched our coverage of the accident, and for the first time, she says she saw clearly how bad the fire was and what was left of her car.

“I don’t even know how I’m here talking to you right now. I have so many heroes who have entered into my life because of this,” she says.

Ashaunte’s thanks extend to everyone involved in helping her. Tonight, she’ll meet the three patrolmen and the EMT at a township meeting, where they’ll be honored for their heroism. The township would like to honor the two civilians at next month’s meeting.

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