SOQUEL, Calif. -

Central Coast News is just learning about a heroic act that saved a young woman's life on Highway 1 near Soquel late Sunday evening.

The Central Fire District was dispatched to a reported car accident just before 10:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes. Arriving fire crews were directed by bystanders to an area near the Soquel Avenue Bridge.

The car involved had crashed into a tree and was on fire, said fire crews. They said an injured 25-year-old woman, the driver, was found lying on the ground nearby.

According to witnesses, that woman was pulled free from the wreckage as it caught fire by a 30-year-old homeless man. He has not been named, but Central Fire said the man risked injury and burns himself in the process.

Fire crews said the homeless man was treated on scene for injuries to his hands and refused any further treatment. "This selfless act from this man may very well have saved the injured woman's life," said Mike DeMars, public information officer.

The driver was treated on scene by paramedics and was flown to a trauma center by a CALSTAR air ambulance, said Central Fire.

It's not known why the woman lost control of her car and collided with the tree. California Highway Patrol will complete the investigation.