A man in Texas was rescued on Tuesday by a sheriff’s deputy and several passersby after he crashed his car into the back of an 18-wheeler truck in Terrell.
Michael Pierce had been on his way to the hospital to see his son when the crash occurred, leaving him trapped as flames grew around him.
Kaufman County Sheriff’s Deputy Conner Martin was one of the first to respond to the incident, and his body camera captured his actions as he tried to get the man out of the vehicle.
“When I first showed up, I felt useless,” he told NBC 5. “We’re not firemen. We don’t carry fire extinguishers.”
Martin is seen on camera approaching the vehicle, which has billowing smoke coming out the door where Pierce was sitting. He climbs inside the vehicle through the back door.
He asks the man if the dash is pinning his leg to the car, to which Pierce answers in the affirmative.
“I’m bleeding, help me,” Pierce shouts at the officer while holding a white fabric covered in spots of blood.
According to NBC, a passerby had a fire extinguisher and others had water. Working together, they were able to keep the fire at bay as they tried to get Pierce out.
The deputy enters and exits the vehicle multiple times to catch his breath while maintaining contact with the trapped driver.
At one point, Martin asks Pierce to use the lever on the seat to slide the seat back while he attempts to lift the wheel off and allow for an escape.
“The steering wheel wasn’t moving and the flames started to come in on the floorboard down at his feet where his legs were trapped,” Martin said. “I was aware of the danger. I wasn’t really scared.”
After several attempts, he was able to free Pierce from under the wheel, shouting “he’s out” before getting out of the car himself.
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department commended Martin for his work and said he has “the heart of a servant and the bravery of a lion” while also thanking those bystanders who assisted in the rescue.
However, Martin says he just got lucky.
“I was in the right place at the right time to be able to help him,” he said. “I know many other deputies here would do the same thing.”
Pierce said he was thankful for the work by the deputy and passersby.
“I’d like people to know there are people around who care,” he said.
Dallas News reports Pierce was airlifted to hospital and underwent surgery and treatment for his burns.
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