SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - A man who almost died in a car fire on Missouri 13 near Lowry City is out of the hospital and sharing his story, along with the family members who saved his life.
Kenny Wurm says, when his car caught fire last Tuesday, he couldn’t get out because his driver’s door wouldn’t open, his seat belt was stuck, and the window would only roll down halfway. Luckily, his daughter and son-in-law were driving with him, in a separate car.
“It started smoking, and then it started burning. And I told Kyle, ‘You got to get me out. I’ll burn to death,'” said Wurm.
Kyle and Kathryn Wyatt say they were driving back from Kansas City on Missouri 13, and they noticed the smoke coming from Wurm's SUV when they were in St. Clair County.
“We saw him pull over to the side of the road, and we see that he rolls his window down, about half way, and having his head out trying to gasp for air,” Kyle said.
Kyle says he tried to get Wurm out through the passenger’s side.
“I see these flames on the passenger’s seat. Now we’ve known for several years, his driver’s side door does not work,” said Kyle.
Kyle says Wurm’s SUV was 20 years old, and he was trapped inside it.
“His whole right side was on fire, and his hair was on fire, and his face,” Kyle said, “And that was the scary part. The only thing that was going through my mind was that my wife’s going to see her dad die in front of us, because I didn’t see how he was going to get out of this car.”
He believes the fire might have burned through the seat belt, allowing the Wyatts to pull Kenny to safety.
“I had to stick my hands in to try and get his feet out the window, to turn his feet just right," said Kathryn Wyatt.
She says she’s just glad her dad is still alive.
“By the time we pulled him out of the vehicle, it wasn’t but seconds before the whole thing was engulfed. And then it exploded within a minute. Exploded. Like you see on TV,” Kyle said.
Kyle says they’re still trying to figure out how the fire started, but they believe it may have been an electrical issue.
The Wyatts say they’re thankful they were traveling with Kenny when the fire started. Kyle says Wurn knows how to get to the Wyatts' home in Springfield on his own but, for some reason, they decided to drive together that day.
Wurn was released from the hospital on Wednesday. He was in the burn unit for a week.
“I guess I’m feeling better than I was. Staples can really hurt," said Wurn.
He has third-degree burns on his arm, and burns on other parts of his body, but he says the skin graft was the most painful part.
“Its been healing, and healing good,” Wurn said.
Firefighters say the best way to prevent car fires is routine maintenance.
“Making sure that the oil is checked regularly, the electrical system, things like that. So talk to your mechanic, make sure your vehicle is in good shape," said Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Robert Talburt.
Talburt says, if your car catches fire, you should get to the side of the road and call 9-1-1. He doesn’t recommend trying to put the fire out yourself.
“If you’re driving down the roadway and you start to see smoke or flames coming from the vehicle, get off to the side of the road as quick as possible, get the vehicle in park, turn it off, and get about 100 feet away from the vehicle, just in case it continues to grow," he said.