Fayetteville police say 86-year-old Eloise Hendricks lost control of her car when she had a heart attack, ramming the car into a house on Sheringham Drive.
The car caught fire, trapping Hendricks inside.
Carlos Lawrence was home at the time with his three children. They all got out without serious injuries.
"Just because by the way the bricks are a little to the right, the car would have hit me," Lawrence said, "because I was just a foot away from the window itself."
Authorities say Hendricks' car traveled about 400 feet from the road before it hit thehouse, crushing the vehicle's front end.
Lawrence, a Fort Bragg soldier, said he thought it was an earthquake.
A wall mirror struck his 2-year-old daughter, who was taken tothe hospital as a precaution.
The family is staying with friends.