A good Samaritan’s rescue of two kids came at the price of losing their mom in a Florida gas station fire this week just days before Christmas.
Officials said a 66-year-old woman backed her car into a Palm Harbor gas pump. The vehicle pinned another woman pumping gas, and she burned to death. People magazine reported on the incident.
“I heard the boom,” Sebastian Tague, who was working near the gas station at the time of the explosion, told ABC News. “By the time I went out there, the gas pump and the car was just completely burnt to a crisp.”
A good Samaritan helped pull two of the victim’s children, who were in the car at the time, out of the vehicle, according to CBS affiliate WKMG. The children, 14 and 11, escaped. Authorities did not report if the children had significant injuries.
Firefighters: Florida Car Engulfed In Flames Upon Arrival
East Lake Fire Rescue reported that they arrived at a “structure fire incident” Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m.
Authorities saw both a gas pump and vehicle “engulfed in flames.” They said they put out the fire but that an adult did not survive.
The Florida Highway Patrol and the State Fire Marshal’s Office share the current investigation. Officials did not release the driver and victim names. Authorities said the driver was not intoxicated.
NBC affiliate WESH reported that the two children — a boy, 11, and a girl, 14 — initially tried to save their mother from the fire. The good Samaritan got the children to safety but did not realize the mother was in the car and could not save her.
One Florida bystander, Kelsey Morris, told ABC News that she and her mom witnessed the event. Morris said she saw “two people running toward the gas station screaming.”
Morris said she pulled into a parking spot and took cell phone video, unaware of any people still in the car. She said she assumed employees ran to the fire with fire extinguishers, but soon after, “tires and the gas tank exploded.”
St. Ignatius Church in Tarpon Springs held a memorial service for the woman last week.
Fund Set Up To Help Family
East Lake baseball coach Zack Roper organized a GoFundMe account to help the woman’s family. According to the man, she was a mother of five kids who ranged from college to elementary school. Seth Caballes played for Roper before attending college outside Florida.
“Anyone in the East Lake and surrounding areas who has met or knows this family through sports, church, or any avenue would all say how amazingly special they truly are,” Roper said.
Roper identified the mother, Shoi Caballes, as the victim while setting up the fun. People pledged over $58,000 to the fund.
“For everyone reaching out, my family and I thank you for your kind words and loving messages,” Seth Caballes said in a Facebook post.