Delivery Man Rescues Teen From Burning Wreckage - NBC Bay Area

Delivery Man Rescues Teen From Burning Wreckage



    A delivery man rescued an 18-year-old woman from the burning wreckage of a car crash that killed five of her friends. John Cadiz Klemack reports from Burbank for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Oct. 1, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013)

    Juan Ganaja, a delivery man on his third stop of Saturday didn't hear the car crash. He only heard a woman's screams for help.

    It was 4:20 a.m. in Burbank, Calif., and it was still dark, so he didn't even see the wrecked car - behind two fences and across some train tracks - until the flames burned brightly enough.

    "Help! Help!" the woman screamed.

    He ran toward the flames.

    On Tuesday, Ganaja laughed and said what he did wasn't special.

    "I'm not a hero," he said. "It's just me."

    Ganaja, whatever he might be, scaled two fences to get to Savannah Underwood, 18, who had just climbed out of the wreck with a broken leg. He carried her to safety before the car exploded into flames.

    She was crying and told Ganaja her friends were still inside, but when he turned around, the fire was too fierce.

    He said he still visits the site of the crash every day and feels sorry for the victims he couldn't save and their families.

    The Nissan Altima that Underwood was in was carrying six people. The driver lost control on a curving freeway underpass and struck a concrete pillar.

    Everyone inside except for Underwood died.

    The victims were identified by family and friends as Stephen Stoll, Sebastian Forero, Sameer Nevarez, Malak Hariri and Sugey Cuevas. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has yet to officially identify them.

    Underwood was recovering in a hospital, and had undergone surgeries for her injuries.

    "I survived for a reason last night, & am determined to figure out why, stay strong everyone <3," she tweeted. "I just want to wake up from this nightmare."

    Her mother, Valerie Lucas, said Underwood was strong.

    "When she was told what happened, which was the following day, she was crying," Lucas said. "And that was the first thing out of her mouth, was that she now had five new angels to watch over her."

    "To the other families," said her father, David Underwood, "all we can say is we're so sorry."