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Miami-Dade Officers Pull Woman From Car As It Begins To Burn

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami-Dade police officers pulled a car crash victim from her demolished SUV Tuesday afternoon as the vehicle was catching fire.

The driver, 51 year-old Josefa Fernandez, lost control of her Kia SUV at SW 137th Ave. and 47th St., smashing head on into the concrete block wall of a townhouse patio.

Miami Dade officers Ramon Hernandez and John Crawford happened on the scene almost immediately. That was a good thing. The car was beginning to burn.

"We saw the vehicle's dash on fire, and that's when we took action," Ofc. Hernandez told CBS4's Gary Nelson. "We had to pull the driver out of the drivers seat."

As the officers gently laid the victim down, a passerby grabbed the hose from behind the crumbled concrete wall of the patio and extinguished the car fire.

The owner of the townhouse was not home at the time. When her mother, Elisa Castellanos, got a call from her son in law, she thought she was being pranked.

"We thought it was an April fools joke," Castellanos said. ""I was like this is April fools because it's April 1st today."

A neighbor who heard the car collide with the wall said it sounded like a loud explosion. The impact flattened the SUV from the front bumper to the firewall, and left concrete blocks from the wall scattered about the yard and patio.

Castellano worried for the injured driver, who was the only occupant of the car.

"They took her out on a stretcher. I'm hoping she's okay," Castellanos said.

Police officers on the scene said Fernandez appeared to have suffered multiple fractures, but was conscious and alert, responding to their questions as rescue prepared to take her to nearby Kendall Regional Medical Center.

For the police officers who raced the flames to get the woman out of the totaled SUV, it was just another day at the office.

"We had to act. It's either that or the car catches on fire," said Ofc. Hernandez.

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