Waukesha Town Board Chairman John Marek said he did what anyone else would have done the afternoon of Tuesday, April 15, when he saw a wrecked car on fire and dashed into a building, got a fire extinguisher and fought back the flames.
The only fires he had ever seen until that point were in his barbecue grill, he joked the next day. But when he saw flames licking out from under a car and in the engine compartment, he knew the fire had to be put out, he said.
That's at least partly because the car had careened into the wall of the Starbucks at Moorland and Janesville roads in Muskego after a collision in the intersection. The car had slammed into the wall just missing a big picture window.
Another good Samaritan had already helped the 22-year-old Milwaukee woman driver out of the car to safety.
Marek who is in the construction and property maintenance field said he wasn't afraid the car would explode.
"I was more concerned about the other people around. I had to put it out," he said.
Marek pulled into the parking lot and ran into the first door he found. It turned out to be a vacant space in the same building as the Starbucks. But there he saw the fire extinguisher.
He used it to battle back the flames in the engine and crouched low to extinguish the flames that were coming from under the car. The engine's accelerator was stuck full on, Marek said, and the engine was roaring while he fought the fire.
Marek had emptied his fire extinguisher just when police arrived. The flames had subsided but revived, and the police officer used his fire extinguisher to battle the fire until firefighters arrived.
Marek said he watched as the Tess Corners Volunteer Fire Department ripped the hood off and doused the car with water from their firehoses. The car was totaled.
Marek said he could only imagine the scene inside Starbucks as the car came right at the window.
"I'm sure somebody spilled their coffee," he joked.
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