A Salt Lake City woman suffered 3rd degree burns when her pants caught on fire in a Walmart parking lot in South Jordan, Utah, on Thursday evening.
The severity could have been far worse if local boys who live across the street had not walked by and rescued her, police told ABC News affiliate ABC 4 in Salt Lake City.
Matai Wilson, 12, quickly took off his coat, a Christmas gift from his father, and used it to cover the woman’s burning leg, then began to pat out the flames, ABC 4 reported.
Meanwhile, Luke Sumbot, 13, jumped in to lend a hand in extinguishing the flames by stomping on pieces of the woman’s burning pants.
“She didn’t even say a word,” Sumbot said.
Officers found cigarettes and incense in the woman’s car, and their guess is that the woman, whose name has not been released, was trying to light a cigarette, South Jordan Police Sgt. Elyse Charter told ABC News.
“She was in a tremendous amount of pain,” Charter said. “She kept saying she was trying to light a cigarette or an incense … but we couldn’t confirm which one.”
After smothering the flames completely, the boys called police for further assistance.
“We saw fire on her leg and she went to the ground,” Sumbot told ABC News.
The boys were alarmed, but said they learned how to react to such a situation in science classes.
“I was shocked,” Sumbot said. “That’s not an everyday thing. I remembered in science class we learned that if someone catches on fire you grab the nearest blanket and put it out.”
The fire caused the woman’s pants to melt and she suffered “serious and significant injuries” from it, a South Jordan police official told ABC 4.
The woman was wearing nylons under jeans, according to The Associated Press.
The young boys may have saved the woman’s life by showing up when they did and taking the right steps, police officials told ABC 4.
The coat Matai used to put out the fire was covered with burn marks, stained in blood and even had burned pieces of skin on it.
Asked if they consider themselves heroes, Sumbot told ABC News, “Yeah, because she could have lost her life in the fire if we weren’t there.”