Imperial County bodycam shows a deputy rescuing a trapped family in a burning vehicle

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A dramatic early-morning rescue was caught on body cam by an Imperial County sheriff’s deputy on patrol out of the Salton City substation when he pulled a family from a burning vehicle on Highway 86 earlier this month.

What looked to be a minor two-car collision shortly after 4 a.m. Aug. 13 on the northbound lanes of the highway, was given some wow factor and gave a glimpse into what deputies face on the job thanks to the video footage posted to the Sheriff’s Office social media pages on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

The deputy, who was not identified in the social media posting, came upon the collision shortly after it occurred to find one vehicle blocking the northbound lanes of the highway and a second vehicle off to the east shoulder, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The video shows the deputy evacuating the passengers from that first vehicle. The driver was trapped inside, and the deputy had to cut through the seatbelt to free the driver, who then removed a young child from the rear seat, according to the sheriff’s post.

An injured female passenger was trapped in the rear and was dragged to safety to the shoulder of Highway 86. The front passenger was trapped, and the vehicle then caught fire. The deputy attempted to put out the vehicle fire with an extinguisher from his patrol unit, but the fire extinguisher wasn’t enough and the flames continued to spread, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

At last, the deputy cut the seatbelt off of the front passenger, and she had to forcefully be pulled from the vehicle due to her being partially trapped under the dashboard. All passengers were out of the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames.

“The deputy’s quick thinking, unwavering courage, and selfless act of heroism helped save the lives of all the occupants within the vehicle,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in the post. “The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank AMR (Ambulance Service), CAL FIRE (out of Riverside County), and the California Highway Patrol for their quick response and assisting with this critical incident. The cause of this accident is still under investigation.”

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