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Driver Rescued After Car Hits Tree, Goes Out Of Control, Catches Fire In Hillsdale, N.J.

HILLSDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A car hit a tree and lost control Tuesday, ending up about a block away just touching the front of a home in Hillsdale, New Jersey.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, the car flipped at one point and went through trees, catching fire. Police said the driver escaped without serious injury.

"I am extremely shocked that anybody survived that," said Jodi Kelly.

Kelly woke up to the scene around 2 a.m. Tuesday. She saw the red car flipped upside down and on fire, right up against her home, with the driver trapped inside and yelling for help.

"Very loud exploding noise like nothing we've ever heard," Kelly said.

Police said the car first hit a tree on Kinderkamack Road near Washington Avenue, and then continued going north – leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

"That rim came apart and actually hit another house," said Hillsdale police Chief Bob Francaviglia.

"Sounded like it couldn't have been in control, it was going so fast," said neighbor John Runfeldt, and it raced past my house; heard several crashes down the street."

Tire tracks were visible from where the car kept going, and a school crossing sign lay on the ground after the car ripped it down. The car went through the bushes on some private property, and then, Kelly said, "from what we've been told, went airborne, flipped around a few times, came through these two pine trees, and then landed upside down against our house."

Neighbors ran out with fire extinguishers to help put out the flames, and once police and firefighters arrived, "they cut seatbelt off of him and he was extricated from the car," Francaviglia said.

Miraculously, police said the man does not appear to have suffered any serious injuries.

"The only thing we know right now he has a busted rib; broken rib," Francaviglia said.

The car was towed away earlier Monday, but some of its contents were left behind – including a rosary and a copy of the Lord's Prayer.

Many believe the 47-year-old driver had someone on his side Tuesday morning.

"He's lucky and I'm going to say everybody else is lucky as well," Francaviglia said.

The out-of-control car traveled some 700 feet. Police believe speed was a factor, but the exact cause was under investigation late Tuesday.

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