The rescue of a man from a burning vehicle in California was caught on camera this past Saturday. The video shows a police officer working to put out flames before climbing in an overturned car to get the man out.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, the East Bay Times reports, officer Jason Trzewieczynski was on an unrelated shift call when he received a separate report of a vehicle collision.
He responded to the call and found a small Lexus SUV which had struck a tree and was lying on its side. A fire then burst from the front of the car and started to spread.
Bystanders informed him that there was a man still inside.
Video captured by a resident shows Trzewieczynski using a fire extinguisher to try and extinguish the flames.
“He knew it could be a prolonged extraction,” police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said on Monday. “Once he realized the fire was beyond what could be put out, he gets into the car, using the extinguisher to beat back flames.”
The officer, who has been with Fremont police for almost three years, used the back-door latch to open the window and climb in.
He can be seen on camera clearing out the man’s belongings to try and get close to the man and was eventually able to get the driver to his feet.
“Once I got a hold of his hand, I was able to drag him over the seat basically and all the way through three rows and out the back,” he told ABC 7 News.
The woman who filmed the entire rescue, Elizabeth Koenig, said it was the officer’s efforts that saved him.
“He shouldn’t have survived. He did, and he walked away, and it’s because of that officer,” she told ABC.
“He told that guy, ‘Hey you need to stand up and help me get you away. If this thing blows, we have to get you away from the car.”
Koenig said she had heard the crash and rushed down the street from her home and witnessed the officer’s actions.
In the video, Trzewieczynski urges the man to stand once he gets the driver out of the back of the car to assist in getting him away from the burning vehicle.
According to the officer, there was a reason for his immediate reaction.
“About two weeks ago, I was on a car crash,” he said. “Everybody was out, but the car was engulfed. And right when I showed up, the car exploded. So that was kind of going through my mind.”
A short time after extracting the driver, the vehicle can be seen engulfed in flames.
The driver was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
“There’s nothing special about what I did,” he said. “Any one of my partners would’ve done the exact same thing.”
Police say they are investigating the crash as a possible DUI. The driver has not been arrested.