NASCAR driver, US Navy serviceman helps family escape inferno on highway

NASCAR driver and U.S. Navy Lt. Jesse Iwuji is being hailed a hero after he helped a family escape a flaming minivan on the side of a California interstate on Sunday.

Iwuji, who was returning from a weekend at Sonoma Raceway, pulled over on the side of Interstate 5 in Grapevine after he noticed the van and a small fire under the vehicle. He quickly raced to get the family of four out of the van before the flames could grow.

“I was just doing what I think was the right thing to do,” he told

Iwuji said he had to practically drag the father out of the van because he was trying to save the family’s belongings.

“We got away and just right after that, the engine just burst into flames,” Iwuji said. “From there, it then went into the front seat, then into the back seat, then it got to the fuel cell area and the whole thing erupted.”

Iwuji posted the video of the fire on his Twitter account to show how quickly a fire like that could spread, especially in the driest parts of California.

“Don’t be a passerby,” Iwuji said. “Go help if you see something wrong. Don’t just drive by with your cell phone and record it; stop and help. That was the main reason, to really show people that you can do your small part. It has nothing to do with trying to be a hero or anything like that. You just do the right thing.”

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.