Blazing Inferno

My wife and I left for church Sunday before last, but never made it. Our experience on the way was like no other.  We will likely never forget it. No sooner had we set out on a rural road, when we encountered a single car accident. A minivan was on its side, flames were leaping out from under the hood and they had already encroached on the passenger compartment. A woman was trapped inside. Discover what happened and how this tragic event can offer us an important spiritual lesson.

One man was already at the vehicle. As my wife and I ran towards the crash, so did another man. The man at the vehicle was screaming, “Help, I can’t get her out.” The woman inside was screaming, “Save me I am burning up….I am dying.”

To be honest, my first instinct was to tell my wife to back away. I feared for her life, thinking the vehicle might explode at any minute. She stepped away and began to pray. The other two men and I attempted to pull the woman out through the window but we couldn’t move her. She was trapped. The vehicle was on its side and we were  unable to open the door. It was impossible to know what she was caught on. The fire was worsening, and her screams were growing more frantic. We decided to go around to the other side and attempt to push the van over on its roof, thinking that it would be easier to pull her out. We could not turn it over.

We ran back to the window, fearing the worst. As we pulled this time the fire greatly expanded and black smoke billowed up and enveloped the three of us and the woman inside. We could not breathe nor see. We were all choking. With very heavy hearts, we were forced to step away leaving the screaming woman inside. We assumed we were about to witness a horrific death. It appeared there was no way to rescue her.

While we had been pulling, my wife had been praying. “Lord, free her from whatever has her bound up.” Suddenly the wind direction shifted, and the smoke cleared away from the window. This was our one final chance. We had to try one more time. Surprisingly, this time we pulled her out, some of her clothes were on fire. Because this was a minivan I feared that there might be children inside. I quickly asked her. She said, “No, just me.” These were welcomed words because, within 10-15 seconds of pulling her through the window, the entire vehicle erupted into a blazing inferno. We were all lucky to be alive!

Quickly we carried her as far from the fire as we could, expecting an explosion. I asked her if I could pray over her. She gave me an emphatic, yes! She was severely burned, her skin blistering off. As I prayed, my wife gathered up towels from a neighbor to help her. She appeared to be in shock. Just then, the firetruck rolled up and instantly had water on the flames. They extinguished the fire before things got worse. Medics soon arrived and after stabilizing her, she was taken by helicopter, I assume to a burn hospital. We don’t even know her name.

Why did I relate this story to you. First and foremost, to ask you all to pray for this unnamed woman. Not knowing who she is, I have no way to check on her. But, with her burns, and possible other injuries, she will likely have a long, painful healing process ahead. As for those of us who helped her, it is not my intent to draw attention to the four of us. I don’t think we did anything extraordinary. We did what I am sure all of you would do.

Having now had just over a week to reflect on this event, I can see some spiritual lessons. I firmly believe that my wife’s actions played an essential role in getting this woman out. She prayed nonstop. The three of us had pulled to no avail. But our pulling coupled with her prayers got her to safety. I am reminded of the old saying, “pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you.”

I am left with this sobering thought. This woman was ensnared in a blazing inferno. She could not extricate herself. She needed assistance. The heat, flames and screams and the entire event caused me to reflect on the people trapped in the fires of hell. None of us like to even think about hell. Seeing first hand the torment of this woman surrounded by fire, the thought of anyone being thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, like it says in Matthew 13:50, frankly scares me.

Thank God we were able to pull this woman from the inferno. When a soul is in hell, it’s too late. It was scary running towards a burning car. For many of us, its even scarier talking to others about matters of faith. Assuming we would all be willing to risk our lives to save someone from a burning car, shouldn’t we be more willing to try to save them from the eternal blazing furnace of hell?

I am haunted by the thought of what could have happened to this woman if we had not taken that route to church. She would likely have died.  We should all be more haunted by what might happen to the people we encounter on the road of life, if we don’t share the saving news of Jesus Christ.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of your mercy. And dear Lord, bring about a full, complete, and quick healing for this woman. Amen!


The pictures in this newsletter are just stock photographs and not from the incident above. As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally you can reach me by clicking here.

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Brian Pusateri
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  1. Fr. Virgil Petermeier, OSC on November 22, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    I pray thanks for God’s saving hand, his love coupled by your wife’s prayers, so that all of you were safe and saved. A BLESSED THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND MARY BETH, and all the others. May God’s healing powers bring swift recovery to the burn victim, and give her all the hope and patience she needs. AMEN!

  2. Dennis Lobmeyer on November 22, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Fantastic Story and a prime example of how prayer works. So glad none of you samaritans were injured. Prayers for all to heal.

  3. Michael Thompson on November 22, 2022 at 10:19 am


    This is a beautiful but sad story with a happy ending.
    We will pray for this woman’s healing and pray prayers of thanksgiving for God putting the four of your there at that precise time.
    Your message regarding keeping others from hell is very eye-opening and spot on.

    God bless you for all you do,
    Michael Thompson

    • Brian Pusateri on November 22, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Deacon Mike

      Thanks for your post. Happy Thanksgiving!


  4. Jane Ward on November 22, 2022 at 8:53 am

    Yes. Thank God three men and a woman saved this lady. You were heroic and it was tearful reading the details of this frightening experience. God bless each of you.

  5. Janice Dixon on November 22, 2022 at 8:35 am

    God blessed the woman by sending you and your wife to save her and you were blessed along with your wife to be the disciple we are all asked to be! Thank you for sharing your story with us! God has blessed me to read your experience and to have met you years ago at our retreat in IL thank you so very much! Thank you to your wife and the other men that risked their life to get the women out of danger! Gods love and blessings sent to you!

  6. Don Zaron on November 22, 2022 at 7:58 am

    We always think of the “what if”, it’s only human. I have always thought that people are capable of extremely good deeds and extremely bad deeds, It’s up to the individual to choose. I believe that it was not by chance you came upon this accident. God puts us in situations where we have to make a decision on how to act. This woman was blessed that it was you that came along to help.

    • Brian Pusateri on November 22, 2022 at 8:07 am


      In addition the four of us were blessed by the opportunity to help her. God is good!


  7. Rob Earley on November 22, 2022 at 7:36 am

    Thank the Lord for placing you and your wife on that road and at that hour. May he be praised!!
    Happy thanksgiving my friend!

    • Brian Pusateri on November 22, 2022 at 7:53 am


      May He be praised! Happy Thanksgiving!


  8. Richard Givens on November 22, 2022 at 2:43 am

    You and the other men and the women were
    in HELL, your wife saved you all with her
    prayers!! God Bless you All!!🙏🙏

  9. Bob Davis on November 22, 2022 at 12:41 am


    Amazing providence! May we all recognize the obvious and not so obvious moments when and where we can impact someone’s life! God wants our cooperation in His saving work. I have no doubt it happens more than we can ever know. Prayers for the woman and for all involved!

    Bob Davis

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