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Chicago Police Officers Rescue Two Men From Burning Car After Crash

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two men survived a fiery car wreck in Gage Park early Friday, thanks to the heroics of two Chicago police officers.

Officer Hector Fuentes, and his partner Peter Gurskis – partners for 15 years – were on patrol in the 5700 block of South Kedzie Avenue around 1:15 a.m., when they saw a Chevy Aveo headed north on Kedzie veer into the southbound lanes, and slam head-on into an oncoming poultry truck.

The impact was so severe, the two men inside the Chevy were trapped. Then the car burst into flames, and the officers sprang into action.

"We saw that the driver was pinned in, so my partner and I, we forced the door down as much as we could, and we pulled the driver out, since the car was engulfed in fire," Fuentes said. "We noticed there was a passenger in the front seat of the car, also pinned in. So we went around the other side of the vehicle, and dragged him also out to safety."

Gurskis said they knew they couldn't wait for the Fire Department.

"We were just hoping we could get these guys out in time, because we knew it was going to be a while for fire. If they were going to be trapped in there, it could have been pretty much a lost cause for them," he said.

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The car's driver, 20-year-old Marine reservist Jose Silva, was able to speak to his stepfather after the crash, but his passenger was in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital.

"Thank God my son is alright. I mean, I've talked to him already. He's awake. He's in a lot of pain. He messed up his knee pretty bad, from what I'm hearing. I'm worried about his friend. They say he's stable, but he's not awake," said Silva's stepfather, Paul Magnetti.

The truck driver was not injured in the crash.

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