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Colorado man saves woman and baby from fiery wreck

Colorado man saves woman and baby from fiery wreck
Colorado man saves woman and baby from fiery wreck 02:38

A Colorado man who risked his own life trying to pull a woman and her baby from a burning car after a nasty wreck along Highway 82 near Carbondale last Thursday thought little of his own safety.

Alec Larson, a carpet cleaner and former volunteer firefighter, was among several good Samaritans who helped save that mother and baby from their car moments before it blew up. His act of bravery came five years after losing his own daughter.

"I grabbed a pair of scissors was my first thought," Alec Larson said, thinking back to the last time he tried to rescue folks from a car wreck and being unable to free them from a seat belt.

Alec Larson shows the type of scissors he used to cut the seatbelts off a woman and baby from their burning car. CBS

This was easy considering he works for a carpet cleaning company, and they keep little sheers on them at all times.

"When I opened the driver-side door there was a woman and I just grabbed her and put her on the ground," he said.

While he was pulling the woman out, not only did he notice a fire had started at the front underside of the car, but the woman he had just rescued started franticly telling him there was more to do.

"When the mom started screaming about the baby in the back, that's when the shock set in," Larson explained. "Five years ago, my daughter passed away here in the valley and it was from circumstances that I couldn't really control."

Alec Larson CBS

This was something he could change, and a family he could keep whole, even after his was torn apart. The air bags of the car were blocking the back seat, so Larson decided to crawl in through the hatchback to get to the baby.

"He seemed perfectly fine," Larson recalled. "I grabbed him and came out of the back of the 4Runner."

With mom and the baby safe, he turned his attention to the other driver in the other car. While he was seriously injured, along with help from first responders, Larson was able to safely move him from the car, just as the first vehicle exploded in flames. He said it's important to bring up that he was far from the only person helping; a whole team of strangers worked together to get first responders to the scene and take care of the injured.


He chalks up some of his bravery going back into the burning car to his knowledge of fires in the first place, as a volunteer firefighter in the past.

"It was an oil fire; that burns really slow. The gas tank on a vehicle is usually in the back so we knew we had some sort of time before the fire reached all the way to the back of the vehicle where the tank would be," Larson said matter-of-factly. "It was just more a general understanding of how fire works."

Still, there's no denying things could have ended very differently without his intervention.

"It doesn't take much in that scenario. It really can come down to if you are scared or not," he said. "It's more about making sure you at least try to do something."

As for his legacy, and the second chance he got to save a young one's life, he simply said it's the right thing to do: "(It's) nice being able to make sure that that family didn't endure what other families or, myself, have."

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