CALDWELL What started out as an ordinary day of running errands, turned into a nightmare for one Caldwell family. Dara Towler was with two of her sons just before 2 p.m. on Saturday.
"We got a little ways down the road and we smelled what smelt like burnt rubber," Dara said.
Suddenly, the mother had a terrible feeling that something was about to go horribly wrong. She said she could smell how something wasn't right.
"Do you smell that?" Dara asked her son. "Do you think it's coming from our car?"
Dara pulled over off of Hwy 21, thinking at first it was overheating. Then she and her 11-year-old son, Tyler, saw smoke coming out of the front of the car.
"Before I could even take a deep breath, he was unbuckling his brother from the car seat," Dara said.
The mother escaped just in time before her Ford Expedition went up in flames. "I just said run and he took off barefoot on the side of the highway with his three-year-old brother in his arms," Dara said.
"I got out of the car with my brother and I started running (that way) to my house," Tyler said.
Emergency crews responded quickly, stopping the flames before it became an even larger grass fire. Tyler says he was overcome with fear. "Hopefully it doesn't come towards us, hopefully it doesn't blow up," Tyler said.
All that remains at the scene now is broken glass and questions as to how this could have happened. The family says the fire changed their life. They value every second they have together, and Dara says she will always look at her oldest son as a hero.
"You're just so incredible for taking care of your brother," Dara said.
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