Woman who survived car explosion has new outlook on life - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Woman who survived car explosion has new outlook on life

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - What first had the markings of a possible act of violence turned out to be a freak accident.
Monique Pruitt Hicks survived a car explosion on Thursday.

"I can't sleep. I've been having nightmares because just me being there, it really scared me," she said.

She suffered first and second degree burns. Her face is scorched and bandages cover her arms.

After finishing a job for her cleaning company, Pruitt-Hicks got into her car and lit a cigarette.

"I should have let the windows down, but I didn't," she said.
Police said the flame mixed with the fumes of cleaning products on Pruitt-Hicks' clothes and ignited a freak explosion.

"It was like a Matrix movie," she said. "It happened in slow motion, and the fire just flashed right in front of my eyes."
She says the car windows shot out like rockets, and the blast knocked every door off its hinges. "I tried to protect my face, but it didn't help. But it caught up on me."
She managed to escape from the vehicle.

"When I got out, I was just hysterical. I was just, like, running in a circle," she said. "Everyone was just trying to calm me down, and I was hot because my skin had burned off."

Pruitt-Hicks says she recently put $4,000 worth of work into the car, and she has no insurance. 

But she says she takes full responsibility for her actions and blames only herself. "My boss, my job...no one's to blame but me for me being careless. And if I didn't light that cigarette, I would still have my car. And I'd be sitting here with a clear face."

Pruitt-Hicks is grateful to everyone who helped her that day, and hopes she can return the goodwill as she embarks on a second chance at life.

She says she's now focusing on the brighter side. "It really opened my life, and it really opened my eyes up to where I need to get my life together, because I don't think I'm doing something right. I don't know what it is though."

She hopes her story can inspire others to appreciate what's important.

"I'm telling everybody...life is too short, man. I'm telling you all: Life is too short."
As she watched her daughter play ball, Pruitt-Hicks said she's taking more time to appreciate life's simple pleasures.

"Everything happens for a reason, but God told me it wasn't my time right now. It's not my time right now."

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