Quick thinking and a willingness to get involved in a dangerous situation saved a man's life in Centreville. And the hero of the day was Kamran Hassan, 21, of Virginia Run.
George Fulton, 70, of Haymarket's Dominion Valley community, was on his way to his son Terry's house in Virginia Run, Saturday, Nov. 15, around 1:45 p.m., when the incident occurred. "We were going to go to a soccer game with Terry's son Lucas, 10," said Fulton.
He was driving a 1994 Chrysler Concorde in the left lane of Pleasant Valley Road, preparing to turn left on Eagle Tavern Way. Another car faced him on Pleasant Valley, as its driver prepared to turn left in the other direction.
"I saw him, but not the rental truck behind him," explained Fulton. "His car blocked my view, and he didn't see me, either. I turned, and [the truck] hit me broadside on the passenger side, and it spun the car around."
THE CHANTILLY man driving the truck received minor injuries. But Fulton struck his head on the windshield of his car. "I passed out for awhile and, when I woke up, it was unreal," he said. "The whole windshield was shattered and both airbags had blown open. It was a mess."
As it turned out, those were the least of his troubles. Still dazed and groggy from blacking out, he just sat in his car, unaware that his life was in jeopardy. Said Fulton: "Then, all of a sudden, as I was coming to, a young fella comes up, opens the door and says, 'Mister, you better get out quick — your car is on fire.'"
"I glanced up, and then I saw flames coming up from the hood," continued Fulton. "I was able to unbuckle my seat and get out." The person who came to his rescue was Hassan, a 2000 graduate of Centreville High, and both Fulton and his son are grateful for what he did.
"Out of everybody that drove by [the accident], he's the one who ran up to the car and helped him," said Terry Fulton. "I have a lot of respect for him. He could very well have saved my dad's life, because the fire was spreading rapidly."
"That's a brave, young man," agreed George Fulton. "How many people would come up to a car that's on fire and could blow up, at any minute? That's what impressed me so much — that he had the willingness to help and take that risk."
He said that, a minute or two after he got out, the fire spread and devastated the entire car. Someone called 911, and Hassan waited until an ambulance came. Then Fulton and the Chantilly man were both taken to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.
Fulton, who does market research for developers, said he had "lots of bruises but, fortunately, nothing was broken." A few days later, he went to where his vehicle had been towed and discovered that the whole interior was burned.
"I saw my glasses in the front seat, and they were charred and black," said Fulton. "It was scary. If not for [Hassan], I would have been gone. I don't even want to think about it. I must have had a guardian angel watching over me."
THROUGHOUT THE whole ordeal, he said, Hassan remained calm and unruffled. And while proud of his actions, his parents, Gulraiz and Tasneem Hassan, and sister Alia, 14, aren't surprised a bit. "We expect that of him — that he would stop and help somebody in trouble," said his father, Gulraiz. "He was brought up that way."
The family lives on Eagle Tavern Way, and Kamran was on his way to his part-time job at Radio Shack in Centreville Square, when he saw the accident in the intersection. Said his father: "He saw the flames, cars passing by and nobody stopping."
Currently taking some time off from Penn State to attend classes at NOVA, in hopes of eventually becoming an electrical engineer, Hassan pulled up to the stop sign on Eagle Tavern and saw the aftermath of the accident.
"[Fulton's] car went up in flames, and there was gas leaking everywhere, so I ran up, opened the door and helped him out of the car," he said. "I just thought he was in shock from the accident — it was pretty bad. I didn't really think about it; someone had to do something."
Besides that, in 1996, Hassan became an Eagle Scout with Troop 1137, and Scouts take an oath to help others. (He's now a leader of that troop). "I was taught, you stop when people need help," he said.
As for Fulton, he believes Hassan saved his life. "I've got bruises all over me, but I've got no complaints," he said. "I put the glasses on my dresser. Every day I'm going to look at them and be thankful I have another day."