Two Austin police officers fearlessly rushed in to save a person in danger when his burning car showed signs of being about to explode last week.
The incident took place in the 1000 block of West Stassney Lane on Monday, May 24, when law enforcement officers Chandler Carrera and Eduardo Pineda rescued the man from his car just moments before the vehicle burst in flames at 4:40 p.m.
The officers were called to The Enclave apartments in South Austin for a car fire that resulted when the driver suffered a medical emergency at that same time he had just finished backing into a parking spot. His foot remained stuck on the accelerator, forcing the tires to keep spinning—igniting the fire, details given by The Austin Fire Department.
Residents saw the dire situation and dialed law enforcement officials for help. Austin Police Department officers were first to arrive and quickly respond to the scene in front of them.
Officer Pineda recalled that a witness was yelling there was one person inside the car, which was already covered in thick smoke. When he got closer, he noticed the driver’s side door was locked, which forced him to break the vehicle’s window to look inside and check for a survivor.
“Once I broke the window down, I saw the individual inside and went from there,” he said, according to CBS Austin.
Officer Carrera quickly arrived with a fire extinguisher intending to put out the flames while Pindena attempted to remove the victim from his car. However, Carrera soon knew that his companion could not complete the task independently, so he dropped the fire extinguisher to assist Pineda.
“My original plan was to use the fire extinguisher as he pulled him out to try to avoid anyone from being hurt, but it came apparent that he was a pretty big guy and he may be stuck in the vehicle. So, I just dropped it and pulled him out from there,” Carrera said.
The vehicle exploded after the victim was already secured safely by both officers.
On an eventful day, the officers continued their duty two hours later, rescuing another life by placing a tourniquet to a wounded victim’s chest following a gunshot near the Onion Creek Greenbelt.
Despite their success in saving lives, the two said they are thankful they were in the right place at the right time for both incidents. Modestly, both officers said they were simply doing their jobs.
“We don’t consider ourselves heroes, we’re just police officers. That’s our job. We’re here to help people,” Pineda said.
“Everyone else in this department does stuff like this, it’s just that ours happened to be caught on camera,” Carrera added.
For their valiant act last Monday they were awarded a Chief’s coin by the Austin Police Department.
“If it wasn’t for their heroic actions, we don’t know how the situation would have turned out and they saved someone’s life,” Corporal Destiny Silva said.