Randy Mikitko had returned to Lezzer Lumber Inc. after delivering a load of shingles, and the task at hand was to help clear the empty skids from the back of his truck.
That's when he heard the crash that claimed the life of 26-year-old Joshua Lloyd McManus.
A cloud of smoke, steam and glass wafted away from a car that had struck a metal pole in the Wayne Avenue berm, just in front of the lumberyard shortly before noon.
Mikitko grabbed his cell phone and dialed 9-1-1. Before he could hit the send button, though, the car caught fire.
"As soon as I saw the flames, I knew I didn't have time to talk on the telephone," he said.
He tossed the phone to a co-worker, grabbed a fire extinguisher from his truck and ran to the car.
Next door, employees at Indiana Auto Supply heard the crash, too. Ray Sgro ran out to see what happened and then yelled for someone to call for help. No sooner had he said that than flames sprouted from the wreck.
He ran back inside, found a fire extinguisher and started running back out. He said he aggravated an ankle injury on the way. Hobbling toward the car, he handed the extinguisher to a stranger, who ran over to help Mikitko.
Back at the car, Mikitko winced, praying the car wouldn't blow up in his face.
McManus, who recently moved to Windber from Indiana, was already gone.
State police say he had been speeding, and, for whatever reason, lost control of his car, veered off the southbound lane and crashed into the pole. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt, police said.
The impact was fierce. It knocked the engine block out, and the pole sliced into the passenger compartment.
Mikitko put the flames out, and, he said, that's when he heard a baby crying. He ran over to the other side of the car and saw a baby boy strapped into a rear car seat.
He tried to open the door. It wouldn't budge. He started tugging at it. It gave a little.
He tugged again. And again.
Each time it opened further.
Finally it opened all the way.
He said he reached in and tried to unbuckle the child, but he couldn't find the clasps to release the belts holding the car seat down. Then he tried unbuckling the straps on the car seat. He couldn't get them undone.
So he pulled out a pocketknife, sawing the belts, careful to cut away from the child.
He pulled the boy out and cradled him over his shoulder. He seemed to calm down, Mikitko said. The boy, 2 months old, is McManus' son. He was taken to Indiana Regional Medical Center to be checked. He was fine, according to officials.
McManus was pronounced dead at the scene. Indiana County Coroner Michael Baker said he died of severe head, chest and neck injuries.
No autopsy is planned and the office is awaiting the results of a toxicology test, Baker said.
Mikitko said he hurt the knuckle on his right index finger, though he isn't sure what he did or how he did it. And he feels guilty about ruining the car seat.
After the fact, he was putting ice on his finger. It wasn't bad enough that he needed to have a doctor look at it, he said.
"Even if it would have, it would have been well worth it," he said.