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Mattress Store Manager Hailed A Hero After He Saves Victim In Burning Car

LOS ANGELES (  —  A local mattress store manager is being hailed a hero after he came to the quick aid of a man trapped in a car, upside-down, and burning.

KCAL9's Serene Branson said the driver of the car is suspected of street racing, crashed, flipped and then the car burst into flames.

When Santiago Portillo first saw the crash, he began recording.

Quickly, he puts the phone down when he realized there was a man trapped inside.

"It was insane," Portillo said.

You then see Portillo pull the young man out and drag him to safety.

"I had to save him. I saw the big explosion and fire. I was not going to see human get burned," Portillo said.

The crash happened on Indiana Avenue in front of the mattress store where Portillo works in Riverside around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Police said the Honda driver was likely street racing when he lost control and flipped.

Good Samaritan Saves Man From Burning Car
(credit: Joseph Noriega)

Officials have not identified the man, but an emotional Portillo says he's been thanked by the man's family,who say he's going to survive.

"He's alive. He's alive. We're happy he's alive. I know he that he may not be alive if I wasn't there," Portillo says.

The good Samaritan's daughters drew their dad a picture; it calls him a hero. Proudly, he's displaying the drawing in front of the store.

Other witnesses snapped pictures of the crash, and Portillo recognizing his heroic act.

While his wife says he could have lost his life, he knew he was saving the life of someone's son.

"I'd do all over again for my daughters," he says.

Police are looking for a newer white Scion they believe was involved in the race.

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