Ben Russell, NBC 5 News
Robert Long, left, and Kayden Bathory, right, pulled a woman out of her pickup truck before it exploded.
Two EMTs pulled an unconscious driver out of her overturned pickup truck moments before it exploded in west Fort Worth early Thursday morning.
Kayden Bathory and Robert Long responded to a report of a vehicle on fire following a crash along West Freeway at Chapel Creek Boulevard just after 1 a.m.
"We pulled up there, and we saw a red pickup truck just fully engulfed in flames," Bathory said.
As the first emergency crew to arrive on the scene, Bathory and Long had to act quickly to rescue the driver, a woman who was going in and out of consciousness. They used a fire extinguisher to suppress the flames while they tried to pull her to safety.
"The fire extinguisher didn't do much, so ... we actually ended up taking turns," Long said. "We'd run in and we'd grab her and we'd try to free her up, and it was a little too hot, so we'd have to back up take a break.
Each ambulance in MedStar EMS' fleet is outfitted with a fire extinguisher, similar to what anyone can purchase at a store. But beyond that, fighting fires is not typically in a paramedic's job description.
"We're not really trained on that," said Bathory, who has six years of experience as an EMT with MedStar.
You can find just about anything you'd need to save a life on-board a MedStar ambulance, with one exception - firefighting equipment.
Eventually, the pair successfully freed the victim. But they weren't out of the woods yet.
"Well, I tell you what -- after we got her pulled out, as soon as we got her to safety -- I don't know if it was the gas tank, what it was, something exploded in the vehicle, and it actually knocked us both on the ground," Long said.
Both Bathory and Long sustained flash burns -- essentially, intense sunburns from exposure to the heat. The pair immediately recovered from being thrown to the ground, stabilized the patient and transferred her to a medical helicopter that flew her to a Dallas-area burn center.
At last check, the victim was listed in critical condition.
Bathory and Long, who were back on the job Thursday evening, said they cannot help but consider what could have happened.
"If there'd have been a five, six, seven-second delay with anything, we might've been right up against that car when it exploded," Long said.
MedStar will formally recognize Bathory and Long for their actions, according to a press release.
The Fort Worth police and fire departments also responded to the crash. Fort Worth firefighters extinguished the vehicle fire.
NBC 5's Greg Janda contributed to this report.