David Liska admits he’s filled with fear. That’s because he’s reliving a fiery car crash that nearly cost him his life.
More than two months later, he went back to the scene with the off-duty firefighter who helped save him.
Liska, 35, was exiting Anthony Henday Drive onto Campbell Road April 16 when he went into medical distress.
One witness described watching his vehicle swerve, lose control and plow into the back of a silver SUV that was stopped at the red light. His car immediately burst into flames.
“My feet and my legs were already getting so hot; my shoes were melting,” Liska said.
Everyone else involved in the collision got out safely, but Liska was trapped. His door was jammed and he was surrounded by airbags.
“I was trying to get out, and trying to pull myself out. I undid my seat belt and I was just in complete shock. I honestly thought that it was just done.”
That’s when Chris Scott happened to drive by. The firefighter was headed into work for a night shift. Little did he know, his most rewarding call was about to unfold off the clock.
“His front of his vehicle was fully involved already. I knew, if there’s somebody in there, he’s not gonna last long,” the fire captain said. “Just because the wind was howling and the fire was going to spread much quicker.”
Scott said he noticed a handful of people standing around with their cellphones out, taking photos and videos.
He asked if everyone was accounted for. No one seemed to know for sure, so he ran towards Liska’s black SUV. All he could see was thick smoke in the front seat.
“I’m like, ‘Oh no, please, one of these doors better be open or I’m gonna have to break a window and I don’t have any tools, I don’t have any gear,'” Scott recalled. “So I tried the back passenger door and sure enough, it was open.”
He jumped in the back seat, grabbed Liska under the arms, and pulled him between the seats as hard as he could. With the help of David Lewis, another Good Samaritan, Liska was freed via back passenger door, with just seconds to spare.
“Honestly, I would have given him 15 to 30 seconds, max. That’s probably it,” Scott said.
Watch below: Scott describes the moments after the rescue and what caused him to jump into action
Liska suffered smoke inhalation and some bruising on his hips and shoulders. Aside from that, he was unharmed. It’s an outcome that still feels surreal to him.
“It was my biggest fear since I was a kid, something like that happening,” Liska said, holding back tears. “I would have had the worst death possible if he wasn’t there.”
“I was 10 seconds away from someone filming me burning alive.”
Instead, he had the opportunity to thank his hero, in person.
But Scott shrugs off the label; he said he was only doing his job.
“I just think I was in the right place at the right time. All the stars aligned. That’s all.”