Video: Ill. officers pull injured woman from burning vehicle

The two officers had to pull the woman through the window as the car's engine burned

Frank S. Abderholden
Lake County News-Sun

ZION, Ill. — Zion police released the body camera video from one of two patrol officers who responded to the scene of a burning vehicle Friday night, where a quick-moving fire required them to make a dramatic rescue.

“They remained calm, worked through the problem, solved it and got her out of there and laid her on the ground. They had to move her a second time because the car began popping as it burned,” Police Chief Kirk Henderson said Tuesday, commending police officers Steve Vines and Casey Taylor.

“They performed just as I would expect anyone in our department to respond. That’s just the kind of work we expect from our people,” he said.

Officers responded to a crash at approximately 11:30 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Sheridan Road and 29th Street, where a vehicle had struck a light. Police and witnesses reported there was a small fire in the engine compartment.

Vines found the 41-year-old woman bleeding heavily from the head and complaining of an injury to her leg or foot. He attempted to open the driver’s side door, but was unable to because of damage.

Next he used a metal punching tool to try and shatter the window, “but the tint acted like an adhesive and it only made small holes in the window,” Henderson said.

“When Vines got there, there was only a basketball size of flame in the engine compartment, but in 10 seconds, the whole engine compartment was engulfed in flames 6 feet high,” he added.

Taylor arrived, and it is his body camera footage that was released as he raced up to the vehicle. Both officers got to the passenger side, but that door was pinned up against some concrete and couldn’t be opened.

Henderson said the officers were lucky that the crash caused a passenger window to fall into the door frame and the two officers pulled her through the window as she screamed from the pain. Henderson said you can hear some of the adrenaline their voices on the video, but “they remained calm."

“Both officers were commended by their supervisor,” he said. “This kind of thing goes on every day in some part of the country and people don’t always realize it. We want the citizens to know the kind of work we do for them."

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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