'They are our heroes': Peoria woman grateful for 3 men who rescued her daughter

Three men driving back from their lunch break helped save the life of a 19-year-old, after they noticed something wasn’t quite right with her car.

The men's split-second decision likely saved the woman's life.

The woman, identified as Amber Kennedy, was just pulling away from a stop sign in Peoria's Vistancia community when she noticed her car suddenly started slowing down, and became warm. She thought it was overheating from the sun, until the car behind her came speeding up next to her, and told her to get out immediately.

"I didn't know what to do because I didn't know what my car was doing, but then they told me my car was on fire, and that's when I knew that my car was on fire," said Kennedy.

"We were just getting off of lunch and driving, and noticed fireballs coming from the car that was in front of us," said Justin Sampson, one of the people who helped save Kennedy's life.

Sampson and the others said they were frantically yelling from their car to grab Kennedy's attention. When she looked over, they told her to pull over immediately. About 15 seconds after getting out, Kennedy's car erupted into flames. The fire totally engulfed her vehicle.

Kenney's mother, Bridgitte, said car was a brand new 2021 Jeep.

"They are our hero. She wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them," said Bridgitte. "If she was driving ten more seconds, she would have been in the car burning."

For now, everyone’s still shaken up, but they have an unforgettable story, as well as a bond for life.

"I really appreciate them, and I probably wouldn’t have been there without them," said Kennedy.

"They could have just kept driving, and this would have been a completely different situation," said Bridgitte.

"It was crazy. All we wanted was for her, for the young lady to be safe," said Sampson. "I lost somebody very special to me to something like that, so I was just like, ‘man, we got to get her out and get her far away from this car as possible.'"

Bridgitte said she is not sure why the car caught fire.