NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A car saved from floodwater was saved a second time (this time from fire) by a stranger who simply saw what needed to be done and did it.
It is not often you celebrate having your car towed. This tow was different.
Saturday afternoon, Keith and Allie Abel watched the water inch higher and closer to swamping their cars on Toulouse Street just blocks from Bayou St. John.
So, they moved both vehicles from the street to the relative safety and better drainage afforded by the parking lot at Parkway Bakery, where Allie Abel works.
After checking through the evening, they went to sleep, assured the cars were high and dry.
When he went back to retrieve them the next day, he was startled to find his wife's Highlander wasn't where he had left it. A note explained why.
It reads, "The reason why your car is not where you parked is 'cause there was a fire next to it."
The note directed the car's owner to "call Ray" and gave a number.
"He says he was just passing by and the fire department wasn't there yet. It was fully engulfed and getting hot so he backed up, hooked up and pulled it out of the way," said Abel as he described his phone conversation with the man he'd never met.
In the wee hours of the morning, Ray Millet was driving his tow truck past as he went to check on a friend. He spotted an intense fire burning in a shed just on the other side of the chain-link fence at the back of Parkway's parking lot.
Millet shot video of the fire just moments before he took a few minutes to make a big difference for a stranger.
In the video, Allie Abel's SUV is barely visible, silhouetted against the intense flames rising just on the other side of the fence.
Abel is convinced it would have been badly damaged if Millet hadn't moved it. Instead, there is just a small crack in the front bumper.
Says Abel, "Just for the benefit of a stranger that came by and saw this and acted and to me that's what New Orleans is."