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 2:52 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2017 2:52 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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