A call was received at approximately 6:30 pm on February 6, 2015 for a car fire on Broadway and First Street (Route 191). Mike Pinto a member of Liberty Fire Co. #2 was at the Broadway Pub at the time of incident.
An orange glow in a passing car caught the corner of Mike Pinto's eye as he stood at the bar in Bangor's Broadway Pub on Friday night.
He commented about it to his cousin and realized it was a fire.
Pinto, who is a member of Liberty Fire Company in Bangor, and another man ran to the driver as she was getting out of the SUV with her hair and coat on fire, he said.
The SUV was at Broadway and First Street (Route 191).
They patted the fire out, and the pub's chef used a fire extinguisher on the engulfed SUV, Pinto said. Any firefighter at any of the Bangor area's volunteer fire companies would have reacted the same way Pinto did, he said.
"It was kind of just like an instinct. I didn't even think. I saw the fire, and I just ran out," he said. "It wasn't long that the car was fully engulfed. I couldn't believe how fast it happened."
The fire, which looked like an orange ball, seemed to come from the front passenger side of the SUV, Pinto said.
Bangor Fire Chief Bob Engle said the blaze was out and the interior of the car all burnt when firefighters arrived. They received the call just after 6:30 p.m., he said.
Engle said he didn't know the cause of the fire or the name of the woman driving the SUV. He believed she was in her 70's, he said. The driver's injuries didn't seem to be too severe, but they definitely required medical attention, Engle said.
"Her head was singed and burned," he said.
Pinto said the woman seemed very calm, perhaps because she was dazed. He disagrees with people who would call him a hero. He said it'd be different if he had pulled the woman out of the burning car, but all he did was pat her down.
He doesn't know the other person who helped.
"He actually beat me out," Pinto said. "He deserves as much credit as I do."
On May 18th 2015 at a Bangor Fire Department Three Company Meeting, Mike Pinto was presented with the Medal of Valor for helping to save the life of the woman.