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Man bends car door: Adrenaline kicks in as passerby saves driver in burning car

Man bends car door in half to rescue driver from burning car on Minnesota highway.
Man bends car door in half to rescue driver from burning car on Minnesota highway.
Minnesota State Patrol

Where did this ordinary man find the super-human strength to bend a car door in half with his bare hands to rescue a man from the burning flames that were encompassing his vehicle? This amazing feat of human strength happened along I-35 W in Minnesota when 52-year-old Bob Renning saw a car with flames shooting out from under it while looking in his rear-view mirror going down the highway, according to Twin Cities News on June 30.

The driver who was in the flaming vehicle was still going down the highway as if everything was fine with his car. That’s exactly why Michael Johannes was continuing down the highway, he had no idea his car was on fire. That was until Renning slowed down and alerted him to the flames.

According to KARE News 11 today, when Johannes stopped the car, the flames were very apparent, as was the smoke now filling up the inside of the car. His electronic locks and windows failed, so he was trapped inside this burning car. He started banging on the door and window with his feet and fists trying to get the door to open, but it wouldn’t budge, it was stuck.

Renning had gotten out of his car, now parked up ahead of the burning car, and ran to the flaming vehicle. He yelled to his girlfriend, who was in the car with him to call 911. When Renning got closer to the car he could hear the driver banging, trying to get out.

When Renning tried the doors himself and realized nothing would budge it was then that his super strength took over. While bracing himself against the car for leverage, he grabbed the top of the car door and pulled with all his might.

He could see by the condition of the car fire that he didn’t have but seconds to act or this guy was going to perish in this vehicle fire. Renning pulled the car door until he heard the window crack. He got Johannes out of the car, did a quick check for any passengers and saw no one else inside. You can see in the picture above how this man actually bent the door frame around the window.

He grabbed a hold of Johannes and the two moved away from the burning car. Police and firefighters arrived shortly after Renning had pulled the driver from the vehicle inferno and the firefighters put out the flames. What he had done shocked the firefighters and first responders on the scene.

Minnesota State Trooper Zachery Hill was on the scene and called what Renning did “an extraordinary deed, bending a locked door in half of a burning car to extricate a trapped person.” In a statement on the State Police Facebook page, Hill wrote:

"I feel this man deserves any and all commendation for his extraordinary life-saving measure that kept another from burning alive."

Besides suffering minor smoke inhalation and cuts and scrapes from the broken glass, Johannes was fine. Renning, was not injured.

The question of the hour was asked to Renning over and over again; Where did you get the strength to bend that car door? Renning, who is a member of the Air National Guard, said he had no idea, but he is sure adrenaline kicked in.

Johannes car was having problems with the electrical system and during the fire the doors would not unlock. All the doors were locked shut and there was nothing he could do. Just before the car caught fire the speedometer dropped to zero, indicating electrical problems with the car.