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Man saves neighbors after car crashes into home

Posted: 11:37 AM, Feb 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-07 15:11:26-05

It was a chaotic awakening for residents of a Bakersfield, Calif. neighborhood  after a car slammed into the side of a home and ruptured a natural gas line.

James Rhodes had just returned from a late shift at work and was standing in his backyard when he heard something peculiar.

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“I just heard them coming around the corner, screeching. Heard the big bang, heard one of the guys running away yelling,” Rhodes said.

FULL VIDEO: James Rhodes and his brother helping their neighbors get out of the house after a car crashes into the home.

Rhodes grabbed his camera and his brother and tried to chase after the juveniles fleeing the scene.

He was unable to catch up and immediately ran back to the car, shutting off the engine.

Rhodes says when the noise of the engine stopped, that's when he heard the hissing of the gas.

“I could smell it, it was strong,” Rhodes added.

Rhodes and his brother kicked down the fence and woke up his neighbors helping Lonnie Dixon, his mother and his sister out to safety.

Donna Degough, a neighbor who lives just houses down heard the noise and came outside inviting all those who were evacuated into her home for safety and warmth.

“I was thinking, how far it can be, if it blew up, how many houses would it take?” she said.

The juvenile driver was located and arrested by the Bakersfield Police. He will face charges of hit-and-run and driving without a license.

As for the man who is being called a hero, Rhodes says it is all still a blur.

“Still trying to remember but it feels fake,” he said.

“I mean it all happened so quick, it really hasn’t sunk in yet.”