Veteran springs into action after car catches fire at Ft. Lee gas station

Published: Oct. 1, 2016 at 2:59 AM EDT
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FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - A car goes up in flames at the Fort Lee gas station and a veteran jumped into action to help avoid the unthinkable at the busy business.

"I was not thinking. I was just a combat soldier who did 6 tours in Iraq, I was trained to react."

Those were the words of retired U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Wilfredo Mojica, Jr who said the fire was growing fast at the Express gas station near Sisisky Boulevard on the military base.

"I was lucky to see it," Mojica remarked. "I would say, a few minutes more, and it would have been uncontrollable."

The driver of the car that had caught fire had just stepped away for a moment to grab snacks inside the store, Mojica recalled.

"The driver was in shock," he said. "He had no idea what was going on. He came out there and saw his car up in flames."

The veteran says his main focus was to get close enough to turn off the gasoline and used the fluid you would typically use to wash your windows to battle the dangerous flames.

It wasn't long before fire crews arrived to help finish the job. Sgt. Mojica's daughter posted the video of her father springing into action at the gas station, simply exclaiming "Wow" as she recorded what happened.

"All I was doing was just deterring the fire just enough until the fire department came," Mojica said.

He ended up being treated on scene for minor skin irritation, but he refused to go to the hospital.

"I didn't feel it was necessary for me to go...just a little irritation and we put cream on it, and we carried on," the veteran said.

And Mojica said he would do it all over again.

"It's just something about me, and something about helping people," he remarked.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but the sergeant said it appears to have been an electrical issue.

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