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Video: Conn. officers flip burning car, pull driver to safety

Officers pushed the vehicle from its side to its wheels before extracting the driver as the car was engulfed in flames


Tara O’Neill
Connecticut Post

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Body camera footage released by the city Wednesday showed the heroic actions of several city police officers as they rescued a driver from a burning vehicle on Chopsey Hill Road early Tuesday morning.

Officer Kathleen Ramirez came across a crash on Chopsey Hill Road between Reservoir Avenue and Island Brook Avenue Extension around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday. Ramirez found a vehicle on its side and on fire.

Ramirez saw that the driver was still in the vehicle and tried to get her out through the passenger-side window, but the driver couldn’t reach Ramirez’s hand.

As Ramirez continued to try to help the driver, Sgt. Joaquim DeBarros arrived and joined in the rescue efforts by trying to break the front window of the vehicle.

While firefighters and medics were still en route, members of the police department responded from other areas of the city.

Sgt. Kenneth Fortes, Officer Chris Smith, Officer John Knapp, Officer James Motasky, Officer John Asik, Officer Mike Hernandez and Officer Juan Bayan all responded.

The body camera footage released Wednesday showed these officers push the vehicle — while it was on fire — back on to its wheels.

The footage then shows the officers pull the female driver out through the passenger window and carried her a safe distance away from the vehicle, which soon after was engulfed in flames.

Bridgeport firefighters arrived on scene shortly after and extinguished the flames. Medics transported the woman to the hospital.

In statements from Mayor Joe Ganim and Police Chief Armando Perez, they praised the teamwork of the officers.

“The men and women of the Bridgeport Police Department put their lives on the line every day in an effort to achieve the goal of saving and protecting lives,” Ganim said. “The officers didn’t hesitate to put their lives in risk to save another, and due to their heroic efforts a life was saved.”

“The members of this department go above and beyond daily with the job of protecting our great community in an effort to ensure everyone goes home to their loved ones at the end of the day,” Perez said.