‘I Can’t Believe I’m Alive’: Man Warns Others after Getting Trapped in Hot Car for 13 Hours

CLEVELAND – A 75-year-old Ohio man spent more than 13 hours trapped in his car, and now he’s sharing his story of survival to warn others that the same thing could happen to them.

Pete Pyros told WJW he ended up locked inside his 2006 Cadillac last week when his key fob stopped working, and the car’s electrical system went dead.

"I can't believe I'm alive," Pyros told the Cleveland news station.

He couldn’t find any switch to unlock the doors. He had no cellphone and no other hope of getting out after finding himself trapped in his own garage on Cleveland’s west side. His harrowing ordeal went on for so long that day turned into night.

"I was desperate," Pyros said. "I was so desperate like you cannot believe. I was screaming. I tried to punch the window. I tried to kick the window. Nothing happened."

When asked if it was hot, Pyros said, "Hot is not the word. Hot is not the word. I felt like I was in hell."

He even scribbled a goodbye note on a piece of paper in the car, expecting to die. He said, "I was convinced I was gonna die. That's all I could think of.”

While it may seem strange, there are more cases like this online. A General Motors spokesman wrote, in part:

“First, I am glad the gentleman is OK. Any vehicle or key fob can lose power unexpectedly, so please urge your viewers to review the power lock section of their owners manual so they will know what to do if this occurs.”

But Pete Pyros didn’t have his manual in his car. Lawyers with Friedman, Domiano, and Smith are now investigating what happened in this case. Attorney Marco Bocciarelli said relying on the owners manual for what to do when this problem occurs is asking too much. He said, “It’s about two lines halfway through the manual. It’s not obvious to anyone who owns the vehicle. It’s not obvious in the manual itself.”

So what saved Petes life? Alert neighbors. They had heard faint pounding, but they didn't know what it was. However, they had also noticed Pete's garage door open well after dark. So a neighbor hopped the fence and went to check.

That neighbor recalled what happened next, "I said, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I’m in the car. He's lucky he didn't die, inside the car was all fog and mist from him breathing."

Ultimately, Cleveland firefighters came and got Pete out, he says, about 13 hours after he got in the car.

Turns out, his car does have an emergency lever to unlock doors. It’s down below the seat along the frame of the car where the door opens.

Pete Pyros had no idea, and he wants you to think about your car.

He said he's considering filing a lawsuit.

He adds he still wakes up at night with a feeling of being trapped in that car. At the same time, he believes he’s been given a second chance at life.

He said, “It’s a miracle. There’s no doubt, it’s a miracle.”