O'FALLON, MO. - A car fire trapped four people inside, including two children.
Just before noon on Saturday, a car driving on Interstate 70 near O'Fallon, Mo. caught fire and pulled over on the shoulder to get to safety.
Witnesses say a woman stopped to help and pulled 2-year-old Paisley Ervin from the burning car. The toddler was rushed to Mercy Hospital by helicopter.
Jennifer Emo was driving by when she saw the car catch fire. She immediately stopped and ran toward the car, where Paisley was trapped inside.
“I was terrified, but it was a split second decision,” Emo said. “There was no time to think about it. Once I saw her, it was a no brainer, just grab her and run.”
Emo rendered first aid and stayed with the girl until paramedics arrived.
“She was in my arms the whole time until the paramedics took over, and I knew at that moment, we were going to be connected forever like family,” Emo said.
Missouri Highway Patrol said a piece of metal may have fallen off of a tractor into the road and lodged itself into the undercarriage of the car, causing the fire.
The other child, Levi Ervin, 8, didn't have injuries but was taken to Mercy Hospital. Both the driver, Kristan Gunter, 39, and passenger Stephen Rodgers, 50, had moderate injuries and were taken to Mercy Hospital.
One day after the fire, a GoFundMe page created by Paisley's aunt was launched to raise funds for the medical expenses. Within the first hour, $1,000 was collected. The donations topped $31,000 Tuesday afternoon.
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