Good Samaritan Bends SUV Door to Pull Man From Burning Vehicle

PHOTO: Bob Renning, 52, bent the SUV door and shattered the glass when he saw Michael Johannes trapped in the burning vehicle." Minnesota State Patrol/Facebook
Bob Renning, 52, bent the SUV door and shattered the glass when he saw Michael Johannes trapped in the burning vehicle."

A Minnesota man didn't know he had Superman power until he bent the door of a burning SUV with his bare hands to rescue another motorist.

Bob Renning, 52, was driving with his girlfriend on a highway in New Brighton, Minnesota, when he looked in his rear-view mirror and noticed flames under a vehicle directly behind him. Michael Johannes, the driver of the 2006 Chevy Trailblazer, apparently didn't know his car was on fire, so Renning started to slow down in an attempt to get his attention.

Renning’s girlfriend rolled down her window to try to alert Johannes, too. But by then, Renning said it appeared that Johannes’ vehicle had stopped working and was pulled over to the freeway shoulder.

“The taillights started flashing without control, the brakes stopped working, the speed calculator went to zero, the electronics just got messed up.” Johannes recalled to ABC News.

And worst of all, the car doors were locked and the power windows rolled up. Johannes couldn't get them open.

Renning pulled over about 200 feet in front of Johannes. As his girlfriend dialed 911 and gave the police their location, Renning jumped out of his car and sprinted towards Johannes. When Renning got to the SUV, the heavy smoke has infiltrated the car and he couldn't see anyone inside. “It just happened all so fast. It was like a movie,” Renning said.

Renning then saw Johannes frantically pounding and kicking the passenger-side window. Renning pulled on the door multiple times, but the door wouldn't open. Acting on instinct and adrenaline, he gripped the door frame with his fingers, braced his foot against the door, and pulled. The door frame bent in half and the glass shattered.

“I was trying to hold my breath and not inhale any smoke,” Johannes said. “I was going to climb to the backseat and get a heavy-duty flashlight to break the window.”

As soon as Johannes heard the glass shatter, he climbed out the window with Renning's help. Johannes was a little stiff and bruised, and had some minor cuts from the shattered glass.

Renning, an Air Force first sergeant, said he had no idea how he was able to bend the door. He said he runs a few times a week, but is no bodybuilder. “I don’t spend money on the gyms,” Renning said.

“My mom teased me and said: ‘You were supposed to run away from the car, not run towards the car,’” Renning said. “But my grandkids were impressed with me. So that is enough.”

"It was a miracle. He was a husband, he was dad," Lisa Johannes told ABC News. "He was just telling himself: 'I had to get out of there the entire time.'"

Renning said the story is not about him, but about Johannes. "I had no idea what went through his mind at that time," Renning said.

"I just talked to him [Renning] yesterday and I will call him again later today," Johannes said. "He saved my life. I will be forever grateful."