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Video: Ohio officers rescue unconscious woman from burning car

Police say the woman was “seconds away” from being burned alive

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Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

By Cliff Pinckard

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A sheriff’s deputy, a police officer and an off-duty officer braved flames to save a woman’s life, pulling her from a burning vehicle after she had passed out behind the wheel because of a medical emergency.

The driver, Mary Thress, 60, was “seconds away” from being burned alive before she was rescued, police tell Fox 19. She did suffer severe burns to her left arm and leg during the incident last weekend, but she is now home and recovering from her injuries.

An officer that helped rescue her, Rich Riley of the Montgomery Police Department, also was injured, including second-degree burns to his hand.

Police tell WLWT Channel 5 that officers were notified that Thress was an “overdue” driver and that she has a history of medical problems. A Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy spotted her vehicle in a wooded area and realized it was still in drive, with the engine revving and the wheels spinning underneath. Thress was unconscious behind the wheel.

The car caught fire as the deputy struggled to smash out a window because the doors were locked, WCPO Channel 9 reports. Riley then arrived to help the deputy, with an off-duty officer also showing up to assist.

An officer fired a shot into the lock of the vehicle. With the car still burning, the off-duty officer jumped into the back of the vehicle to undo the driver’s seatbelt. Riley then dragged the woman from the car. The deputy and the off-duty officer were not injured, according to reports.

Thress tells Fox 19 she is thankful for her rescuers’ efforts.

“Next thing I know, I am in the ER, and then I was told what happened, and then I started having flashbacks,’ Thress tells Fox 19. “I remember being pulled out of the car and screaming because I could see flames and everything.”

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