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Police body cam video shows dramatic rescue from life-threatening car fire

In the middle of the night, under an Atlanta overpass, five police officers fought for one thing. Time.You fee...

Posted: Dec 8, 2017 3:52 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2017 3:52 PM

In the middle of the night, under an Atlanta overpass, five police officers fought for one thing. Time.

You feel and sense their desperation and determination through the body camera Officer Michael Skillman was wearing.

Just watching it your heart accelerates and you can sense a prickle of adrenaline.

A car with two men inside has slammed into a bridge abutment, flames pour from under the hood. The doors are jammed and Officer Skillman's fire extinguisher empties -- with no effect.

On the video, screams from those inside mix with the officer's shouts for them to get out. He attacks the car's windows with his baton trying to open an escape.

'This was really real and we had to act fast'

Officer Bill Brooks took it all in as he and three other backup officers arrived.

"For me it was one of the most traumatic scenes I have ever been on," Brooks said.

Officer Elijah McCall admits he had expected to find a simple accident.

"Most of the time we get calls and it is not as bad as people usually say it is, but yeah, once we arrived on scene, we realized this was really real and we had to act fast," said McCall.

McCall, Brooks as well as officers Derek Daniel and Andre Valentine joined the battle to break into the burning car.

Frustration

They succeed -- only to find the victims' legs trapped beneath the dashboard and the officers have no tools to free them.

All Brooks felt was frustration.

"You can't get them out and you can feel the heat from the flames on your arms as you are trying to pull them out," said Brooks.

Atlanta firefighters were on the way. The officers could have just backed off and waited.

But they didn't.

Instead they went from trying to get the men out, to trying to keep the flames from getting the men.

Five empty fire extinguishers later, the flames were still burning, McCall recalled.

"Once we exhausted all the fire extinguishers and pretty much busted out all of the windows, at a certain point you feel helpless," he said.

"We were praying at one point." Officer Valentine admitted.

Lucky break

It was right about then when officer Daniel remembered something.

"I realized that we did have an old can of water in the back of our trunks."

Grabbing their emergency water supplies, the officers poured it onto the burning car as a last line of defense.

Moments later the fire department arrived. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in seconds, but even using pneumatic tools took hours to free the driver and passenger -- who survived.

"A lot of people say we are heroes -- I mean that is what we signed up to do," Brooks said.

It's more than people saying the men are heroes.

Thanks to a body camera, you can see it.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 727764

Reported Deaths: 13397
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion995211738
Lake53461965
Allen40457675
St. Joseph35506550
Hamilton35489408
Elkhart28433441
Tippecanoe22359218
Vanderburgh22284396
Porter18668307
Johnson17905377
Hendricks17180315
Clark12930191
Madison12592339
Vigo12431246
Monroe11858170
LaPorte11821210
Delaware10648185
Howard9865216
Kosciusko9378117
Hancock8251140
Bartholomew8052155
Warrick7771155
Floyd7649177
Grant7027174
Wayne7026199
Boone6679101
Morgan6555139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6005111
Dearborn579277
Cass5788105
Henry5688103
Noble558883
Jackson500872
Shelby490296
Lawrence4505120
Harrison434772
Gibson434692
Clinton427053
DeKalb426484
Montgomery423588
Whitley394739
Huntington389080
Steuben383857
Miami380666
Knox371890
Jasper363847
Putnam358860
Wabash353379
Adams340654
Ripley339170
Jefferson328881
White313254
Daviess295899
Wells291081
Decatur284292
Fayette279262
Greene277385
Posey271033
Scott265453
LaGrange265370
Clay259146
Washington240032
Randolph239781
Spencer232031
Jennings229549
Starke215453
Fountain212046
Sullivan211142
Owen198156
Fulton194740
Jay192530
Carroll188320
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush172925
Vermillion168543
Franklin167735
Tipton162445
Parke145916
Blackford134632
Pike133234
Pulaski116445
Newton107234
Brown101641
Crawford99314
Benton98414
Martin88315
Warren81715
Switzerland7848
Union70810
Ohio56411
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1081518

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1256551400
Cuyahoga1117782115
Hamilton798901205
Montgomery513291014
Summit47080945
Lucas42049788
Butler38301584
Stark32242906
Lorain24958481
Warren24262298
Mahoning21511588
Lake20618369
Clermont19747238
Delaware18503133
Licking16410212
Fairfield16160199
Trumbull16019468
Medina15247264
Greene15043244
Clark13970299
Wood13065189
Portage12825203
Allen11626232
Richland11323199
Miami10661217
Muskingum8799133
Wayne8784211
Columbiana8766229
Pickaway8551121
Marion8514135
Tuscarawas8470244
Erie7871154
Hancock6906127
Ross6842155
Ashtabula6792170
Geauga6677148
Scioto6405101
Belmont5873167
Union570348
Lawrence5546102
Jefferson5521151
Huron5427119
Darke5347123
Sandusky5337120
Seneca5275121
Athens518858
Washington5153109
Auglaize489584
Mercer480385
Shelby468893
Knox4483110
Madison435561
Putnam4278100
Fulton421669
Ashland421489
Defiance419297
Crawford3970107
Brown393857
Logan381576
Preble379398
Clinton371263
Ottawa366679
Highland354662
Williams338575
Champaign331458
Guernsey315653
Jackson312151
Perry294850
Morrow284639
Fayette281550
Hardin270664
Henry268466
Coshocton264557
Holmes2593101
Van Wert243363
Adams237752
Pike237534
Gallia235349
Wyandot230855
Hocking215262
Carroll191247
Paulding172540
Meigs144740
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108323
Harrison107637
Vinton82815
Unassigned02
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Rain moves in overnight into Sunday morning and looks to hang around much of the day, likely forcing Mother's Day plans indoors
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