Human Interest Woman Calls Man a 'Hero' for Saving Her from Burning Car as Others Drove By: 'Forever Grateful' "The smoke started getting heavier and heavier, and that's when I said, 'Oh my God, this car is going to catch on fire,'" driver Monica Westbrook told WMAZ By Jason Hahn Jason Hahn Jason Hahn is a Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He's worked at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter since 2017 and has interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 18, 2022 05:03 PM Share Tweet Pin Email A Georgia woman said she is grateful to the kind stranger who came to her aid last week when she was stuck inside her burning car. In an interview with CBS affiliate WMAZ, Monica Westbrook said she was driving down Interstate 75 when her car slowed to a crawl due to mechanical problems. She then pulled off an exit ramp just as smoke began pouring from the car. But when Westbrook tried to exit the vehicle, the door wouldn't open. "The smoke started getting heavier and heavier, and that's when I said, 'Oh my God, this car is going to catch on fire,'" Westbrook told the news station. "I was in panic mode — my car was full of smoke and I just couldn't think," she recalled to WMAZ. None of the drivers who were near the scene came to help as the flames inside the car continued to spread, Westbrook said. "Cars were coming down the ramp and they were just going by," she told WMAZ. "I just knew I was gone." Hero Jumps Into Maryland Bay to Rescue Infant Who Was Ejected From Car During Crash That's until Eric Zastawrny, a safety manager who saw the fire, arrived with a fire extinguisher he retrieved from the company car he was driving. Zastawrny broke one of the car's windows with the extinguisher and pulled Westbrook to safety, according to WMAZ. "When he pulled me out of the car, I just held onto him, and he just held on tighter," Westbrook told the outlet. Neighbors Heroically Rescue Driver Whose Car Burst into Flames After Father's Day Crash "Eric is definitely a hero and I will be forever grateful for him," she added of Zastawrny. "Eric now has a new Monica." Zastawrny told the news station he asks other people to simply be a "good neighbor" to those in need. RELATED VIDEO: Members of College Golf Team Identified After Texas Crash Kills 9, Including 13-Year-Old Driver According to a 2018 Detroit Free Press article, experts said the first step to getting out of a car that won't open is not to panic. They then advise checking every lock and window of the car and drawing attention by honking the horn. In the event a window needs to be broke, a tool called a "safety" or "emergency" hammer can be used to shatter the window. They typically cost around $10 to $20 at online retailers.