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Dallas Officers, Residents Rescue Man From Burning Car After Crash

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Three Dallas officers, along with community members, rescued a man from a burning car after a multi-vehicle crash last weekend, and the officers shared the story of the events that unfolded.

Police said the officers were responding to a crash involving six vehicles in the 6900 block of Scyene Road at around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. Callers had reported that one of the vehicles caught fire and that a man was trapped inside.

Two officers, who the department identified as Jonathan Calder and Jonathan Martinez, initially arrived and ran to help other residents pull the man out of the car.

"Immediately when we ran up to the vehicle, I looked inside. The car was almost engulfed completely. There was a man inside, he seemed unconscious," Calder said. "... When I entered the vehicle, the smoke immediately took all vision away. It was pitch black darkness. It was hot like an oven, the car was melting and dripping onto me. And the seatbelt wouldn't come off."

"I jumped in there for a second, trying to get in. I felt something drip on me. Kind of inhaled a bunch of smoke. Right at that point I had to jump back out, just could feel the heat initially. Then my partner went back in..." Martinez said.

Dallas PD | Car Fire Rescue by Dallas Police Department on YouTube

As Calder and Martinez were attempting the rescue, officer Israel Banales arrived to help.

"He [the victim] was kind of waking up and going unconscious... so, the passenger door we were able to get open and we were trying to say, 'hey buddy, you gotta help us push up so we can pull you out the passenger door,'" Banales said.

"His [the victim's] foot got stuck. And we were just pulling on him... I remember hearing, I believe it was my partner, saying, 'we gotta get him out... he's gonna die if we don't pull him out,'" Martinez said.

Banales said one of the residents helping was able to cut the seatbelt with a knife, which led to them being able to pull the man out.

"I told the citizen there if it wasn't for y'all, we wouldn't have been able to take this on alone. Three officers alone pulling on this guy wouldn't have made it. It was the combination of the citizens putting their lives on the line, getting close to that car, helping pull the gentleman out of the car using water, using their resources that they had," Martinez said.

Police said the man was transported to a hospital with major burns to his body.

"It's my job. I know everybody I work with in law enforcement would have done the exact same thing that I did," Calder said.

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