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WATCH: Florida deputies rescue man trapped in burning car

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 11:43 AM CDT
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (CNN) - Dramatic body-cam video shows how two Florida deputies went beyond the call, running to a burning car to rescue a man inside.

When two Charlotte County deputies arrived at the scene of a crash, they discovered a car on fire with flames shooting five or six feet into the air.

One of the deputies, Garrett Parrish, noticed a person barely hanging out of it and said he could hear him screaming for help as they opened their door.

Parrish, along with Deputy Bryant Ovalles Vasquez, knew they had to act fast.

“As I get close to the vehicle, the fire was so hot that you could feel the hair on your arms kind of start to burn off,” Vasquez said.

Parrish said that the man was not only trapped but also on fire.

“He had the seat belt around his neck and his upper torso,” Parrish said. “And I realized that not only was he in the car trapped but the whole right side of him was on fire.”

They tried to use a pocketknife to cut his seatbelt. When that didn’t work, they made a mad dash for a fire extinguisher from their car.

“It’s a man’s life at risk. Right there. He’s burning,” Vasquez said.

The crash happened at about 1 a.m. A witness had called 911 to report he heard a crash. The car allegedly hit a tree in the median while the driver negotiated a curve.

According to police, the witness said he ran to the scene but was unable to free the man.

First on the scene, the deputies knew there was no time to wait for a firetruck and their fire extinguisher would have to do.

Along with some help from a good Samaritan, they were able to get the man out and to safety.

EMS arrived and quickly assessed his injuries.

As the victim started talking, the deputies were relieved to learn there was nobody else in the car.

“My exact words were ‘hallelujah,’” Parrish said.

The man was transported to the hospital where he’s still recovering.

“You’re training to do that thing but, until you’re in it and you’re doing it physically in person, there’s no training for that,” Parrish said.

While others may call them heroes, the deputies said they were just doing their job.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Vazquez said. “I signed up for this job to serve and protect citizens here in Charlotte County, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

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