Norfolk Deputy takes action, puts out car fire at gas station: ‘I don’t look at myself as a hero’

Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-14 19:22:59-04

Norfolk, Va.-  Norfolk Sheriff's Deputy Erica Williams says she was just doing her job when a car went up in flames at a Shell gas station last month.

"All I heard is, 'There's a fire! There's a fire!'" said Deputy Erica Williams. "I don't look at myself as a hero. I just saw something that happened, I took action and I'm here to see another day."

Williams has been a Norfolk Sheriff's Deputy for last 7 years, but being a single mom she picks up extra shifts working as security at the gas station. However, on March 4th, she had no idea a night which started out as normal would literally go up in flames.

"I saw the flames coming from the bottom of the vehicle. The cashier was outside with the fire extinguisher. She was shaking and she couldn't get the pin out," Williams said.

"I couldn't get it," said Kierra Edwards, who was the cashier working that night. "My fingers were sweaty, my palms were sweaty and I'm pulling the pin, I'm panicking and she [Williams] was like, 'Here let me do it.'"

The flames were shooting up from underneath the 4-door Subaru, coming up through the hood. Edwards says the burning car was parked right over 21,000 gallons of gas. Williams says all she was thinking was put the fire out.

"After it was over, I was thinking that we could have all blown up," added Williams. "But at the time of the fire, I was just thinking extinguish the fire and get out."

"She saved my life. She was so calm," Edwards added. "Every time I see her I'm like, 'You saved my life, you saved innocent lives.' I'm grateful."

Edwards called the Norfolk Sheriff's office because she believes Williams deserves the recognition. That is also why NewsChannel 3 presented Deputy Williams with a People Taking Action award.

"It's a blessing. I'm trying not to cry," Williams told NewsChannel 3. "I don't consider myself a hero. I'm just grateful for the training that I have learned at the Sheriff's office. I went to the academy 7 years ago so to be able to remember everything they taught me, that's a blessing in itself."