Man trapped in burning car, downed powerlines

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For Sam Lenaeus the choice was burning alive in his car or risk electrocution.

His ordeal started when a big tree toppled on Moore's Mill Road in Atlanta, bringing down live wires on top of his Mercedes.

"It's just luck, fate, it wasn't my day. It could have been one second different. It would have been a different story today," said Lenaeus.

The story began when the Atlanta realtor drove from his Buckhead condo on Moore's Mill Road around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to a funeral in Carrollton.

"A tree fell in front of me and ultimately ended up in front of my car with live power lines. I was trapped the lines were on all sides of my car. And the car was catching on fire," said Lenaeus.

With flames quickly growing more intense Lenaeus said he needed to make a critical decision.

"I thought I'd rather electrocute than burn so if it started burning I would have gone and tries to get out," said Lenaeus.

Which is what he did after a woman he said risked her safety; he said she got close to his car to tell him he could safely escape.

Lenaeus said when a transformer exploded it cleared one of the live wires out of the way.

"It whipped through the side mirror and severed the mirror off the car. So I was left with a clear side I could open up and get out," said Lenaeus.

Shortly after his escape, with multiple live wires still on the car, the Mercedes exploded, burned, and melted.

Leneaus told FOX 5 News firefighters had to wait for the power to be shut off before approaching his burning vehicle. He believes he would've perished had he not made the right decision.

"What is your life lesson out of all this? You just have to keep going. And be smart think about what's happening around you," said Lenaeus.

The Atlanta realtor said when he was watching his car burn he took a call from a client who never knew what was going on.

He said when he was driving to the funeral in Carrollton he couldn't help but think how close he'd come to his own funeral.