Travis Andersen/Globe Staff
Three good Samaritans who helped a state trooper rescue a man from a burning vehicle on Route 195 in Swansea early this morning said the victim was pulled from the Jeep moments before it was completely engulfed in flames.
"It went up like a barn fire," said Robert Flanagan, 60, of Denver.
His brother George Flanagan, 63, and Maureen Estes, 56, both of Swansea, had picked up Robert at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. and were traveling eastbound on Interstate 195 at about 1 a.m. when they saw a Jeep cross three lanes of traffic in front of them and crash into a tree.
George pulled his 2002 Acura over to the side of the road and the three exited the vehicle, they said this afternoon at a news conference at the state police barracks in Dartmouth.
George grabbed a fire extinguisher from his trunk while Robert called 911, they said.
Robert said he and George tried to extinguish the fire, which started in the front of the smoke-filled, overturned Jeep on the driver's side.
State Trooper Allyson Powell joined them moments later with another fire extinguisher, and she broke the rear window of the Jeep, Robert said.
"She was very aggressive," he said.
Robert said the fire was contained for a moment and he entered the Jeep through the rear window while George and Powell entered through the front passenger side.
They were able to get the driver out of the vehicle after "a few heave-hos," George said.
He said after the press conference that they moved the driver, identified by state police as 23-year-old Michael Canty, of Mattapoisett, about 40 feet from the vehicle before it was completely engulfed.
"If he had been in there another minute, two tops, he wouldn't have gotten out," George said.
Canty was taken to Rhode Island Hospital and listed in fair condition earlier today, the hospital said.
He is facing drunken driving charges in connection with the incident, police said.
Estes added during the news conference that she feared for everyone's safety during the rescue.
"But there was a person in the car, so you can't walk away," she said.
Globe Correspondent L. Finch contributed to this report.
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