By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Wisconsin man is alive Wednesday thanks to strangers.

Three men rescued 31-year-old Lee Neihart from his burning car after he crashed on County Road E in St. Joseph, Wisconsin, Tuesday night.

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Neihart, from Houlton, Wisconsin, lost control of his car before hitting a guard rail at about 9 p.m.

With some bruising and scratches on his face, Neihart can’t believe he survived.

“I don’t remember anything at all,” he said.

Neihart was driving home from dinner Tuesday night when he lost control on the road. When his car hit the guard rail, he hit his head and went unconscious. A fire then started to burn underneath the car.

Josh Liebenow, from Burkhardt, Wisconsin, was on his way home from school when he saw the car.

“I didn’t know if it was a farmer and what not, burning brush, and I got up closer, and I could tell the car was on fire,” Liebenow said.

He pulled over and ran to the scene where two other men who had also stopped were trying to talk to Neihart, unsuccessfully.

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“Either he was going to burn to death or he was going to have a little bit more injuries,” Liebenow said

The three men decided to pry open the door of the quickly-burning car, and pull the 200-pound, 6-foot-3-inch Neihart out.

“He’s a big guy, big gentleman” Liebenow said. “It took three of us to pull him out to safety.”

Liebenow used clothes from his car to keep Neihart warm. When officers arrived minutes later, the car was fully engulfed.

“No doubt in my mind if these three would not have stopped and helped, that that gentleman probably would have died,” St. Croix County Deputy Chief Scott Knudson said.

Neihart is recovering from a serious concussion at Regions Hospital. He calls Liebenow and the two other strangers “heroes.”

“I’m not a hero at all,” Liebenow said. “I just hope someone would do the same thing for me.”

Neihart is expected to be released from the hospital Thursday.

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The St. Croix Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the cause of the crash.

Kate Raddatz