MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — A middle-school teacher is being praised as a hero Thursday after she saved a man from a burning van.

Credit: Manchester Fire Rescue EMS

A man, who is only being identified as John, was driving down Main Street when he smelled smoke and then saw fire coming from his dash, according to authorities. He stopped his vehicle on the I-384 ramp, where the car burst into flames.

The fuel tank ruptured, leading to the fire’s growth. John, who uses a wheelchair, was not able to get out.

Heather Sica Leonard, who teaches at Illing Middle School, was on the ramp at the same time. She stopped and was able to get John out of the van.

“Her actions averted an almost certain fatal outcome and prevented anyone from being injured,” Manchester Fire Rescue EMS posted on Facebook. “Well done Heather!”

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to the scene to coordinate cleanup after to help with the fuel spill, which went down a storm drain.