Local Man Saves Niagara Falls Woman From Burning Car

January 13, 2014 Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 12:08 AM EDT

By Jill Perkins

January 13, 2014 Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 12:08 AM EDT

Niagara Falls, N.Y. (WKBW) It was a roadside inferno in Niagara Falls that almost ended in tragedy Monday morning.

But thanks to a man she now calls her angel, Linda Benson of Niagara Falls is here talk about it.

"I was saying I gotta get out of here and I started praying and asking God to help me and then that's when I saw Chris above me," said Benson.

Monday started out like any normal day, Benson, a nurse was on her way to work when her car hit black ice, began to spin and flipped over around 6:45 a.m.

"I noticed that it was smoking, there were some flames coming from under the hood just a little bit and as I looked around I noticed that nobody was out of the vehicle. So you get that quick thought of do you stop, do you keep going, what do you do," said Chris Carey of North Tonawanda.

That's when Carey pulled his truck over to the side of the road, called 911 and rushed to save Benson's life using a ladder he had inside of his truck to break the windows of the burning, smoke-filled car.

"At that point there were two other people that stopped, we were able to get her out. Once we got her out we got her away from the vehicle...probably about a minute or so after we got her out it was blazing pretty good," he said.

The Ford Explorer was a total loss, burnt to nearly nothing.

As Linda was trapped inside the car, she couldn't breathe as smoke and the smell of gas and fumes began to overwhelm her.

She calls her rescue a miracle.

And the ladder that Chris used to save her life, he almost didn't have it. He told Eyewitness News reporter Jill Perkins that he meant to take it out of his truck the previous night but luckily didn't.

"A lot of times we think we make mistakes. Like when he left the ladder in the car instead of taking it out-- if it hadn't been for that ladder I wouldn't be here to talk to you today. So a lot of times we do things and we're not aware of why we do them but God is directing us to do them," said Benson.

For Chris, he admits it was scary, but he knew it was the right thing to do.

"She was in a lot worse situation than I was. You know if something happens and I get a scrape or scratch or I cut myself with the glass that's really miniscule compared to what would have happened if I wouldn't have been able to break the window or if other people wouldn't have stopped to help her get out," he said.

"He's a hero, those other two guys are heroes and if they hadn't had been there when they were there I wouldn't be here today," added Benson.