LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork) -- You know Mark Harmon as Special Agent Gibbs on the hit CBS show NCIS, but for one California man, the actor is a real-life hero.
Now, 17 years later, Harmon and the man he saved are talking about the story.
"I owe everything to him," Colin Specht said.
As CBS 2's Maurice DuBois reported Tuesday, Specht said if not for Harmon, he would be dead.
"I have no doubt that I would not be alive," Specht said.
Like a scene right out of Harmon's hit show, Specht was trapped in a fiery crash near Harmon's home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. At the time, Specht was just a 16-year-old kid riding shotgun with his buddy, who was apparently driving too fast.
Specht's friend got out, but Sprecht himself was pinned.
The next thing he remembered, a man appeared out of nowhere to help, using a sledgehammer to break the window.
"He tugged me, because I was still upside down with the seat belt in, and he ripped me out of the car," Specht said, adding people were rolling him into the street as they pulled him out because his clothing was on fire.
Specht suffered third-degree burns and was hospitalized for months, KCBS-TV, Los Angeles reported.
But his parents told him right away who the hero was. Harmon had never spoken about the incident until recently.
"When I broke the window to get to him it fed oxygen," said Harmon. "The fire went from a two to a seven like that."
And all these years later, Harmon deflected any talk of being a hero.
"I won't take credit for it, because if the car explodes and I'm there next to the car, then you're talking about two young boys who don't have a father," said Harmon. "And you'd be doing this interview with my wife and talking about how stupid it was."
But Specht said he's forever in the actor's debt. He said he met Harmon and his wife, actress Pam Dawber, after the crash.
"He had more to lose," Specht said. "He had a wife, children, and the career based on his face and his looks. That's true altruism."
Specht has tattoos over most of his body to cover the scars of the accident. But he said they serve as a constant reminder of how lucky he was.
"There's no way I can repay him, except for pay it forward, and I try to do that in my life," Specht said.
Harmon's wife was the one who called 911 as the actor rescued Specht.
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