Summer Street resident Ken Bowman was expecting a quiet Wednesday evening.
The retired Hanson firefighter and military veteran was planning on waking up at 3 a.m. to bring his granddaughter to the airport where she would compete at Disney World for the Hanson Youth Cheerleading squad.
At about 10:30, as he was settling down to sleep downstairs with his newly trained puppy, Bowman heard a loud noise and saw a flash come from outside.
"I thought it was thunder and lightning," he said. "I looked out the window and didn’t see anything, and I was about to sit back down and go back to sleep."
What Bowman had heard was Center Street resident Brian Endland's 2007 Audi Edlund was seriously injured when he lost control of the car and crashed on the opposite side of the road. He was in critical condition at Boston Medical Center as of Thursday night, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Bowman's wife, Sarah could see what was happening from upstairs. She urged her husband to take the family's two fire extinguishers.
"My wife yelled from upstairs that there was a car on fire in the front yard." Bowman said. "I just looked out there and didn’t see anything - and then she hollers down ‘grab the fire extinguishers’
"I ran out to the garage and grabbed the fire extinguishers and when I stepped out of the garage doors I could see in the corner of the yard a car that was starting to be on fire in the engine. I ran over and pulled the pin on the extinguisher and dumped it in the engine."
Neighbors Nathan Everett, of 18 Summer Street, and Michael McGowan, of 24 Summer Street, were already at the vehicle looking to help Edlund.
For McGowan, who was about to go to sleep when he heard the crash, there was no time to waste. When he saw a smoking car out of his front door, he ran into the road in boxer shorts and bare feet.
"I thought the fire was from the electricity from the telephone wires," McGowan said. "Then I saw the car smoking and the fire. I ran over there to see if he was alright and to see if he could get out of the smoking car. I didn’t notice how bad that car was until I was right up close to it."
Everett, who heard the same loud noise, knew something was wrong when he saw his next door neighbor run across the street.
"I heard a big boom and when I came outside I saw a car smoking," he said. "When I saw Mike cross the street, I knew it was a car accident."
Everett and McGowan gingerly pulled a semi-conscious Edlund from the vehicle while Bowman pushed him from the back-side.
"His arm was up on the dash board and a fire came through the dash board and caught his coat on fire," Bowman said. "I took our second extinguisher, pulled the pin, and dumped that into the dashboard to put that fire out."
Once Edlund was out of the car, the three good Samaritans knew their job wasn't done.
Fearing the car would explode, Everett and McGowan pulled Eduland to a neighbor's lawn.
"By then, the whole car was completely engulfed," Everett said.
Easton fire and police officials arrived on the scene shortly after and police officer Charles Hopkins assisted in moving Edlund away from the flames.
Easton firefighters John Beltramini and James Welsh worked to put out the fire while Easton EMTs treated Edlund in the neighbor's yard.
"When we got there the pole was at a 30 degree angle," Beltramini said. "The neighbors had already pulled the victim out and the car (fire) was starting to get going."
"Almost immediately, two EMTs started working on him," Bowman said. "They got him on the gurney and took him away from the scene."
Edlund was first brought to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton before he was brought to Boston Medical's Intensive Care Unit.
For the three neighbors who helped pull him out of the car, they woke up Thursday morning hoping he was alright.
"One of the first things that I was thinking about was ‘I hope he’s ok,’" McGowan said. "We’re just hoping he pulls through this whole thing."
YouTube video courtesy of Sarah Bowman