Camp Pendleton Marine frees trapped toddler from burning car in Fallbrook


A quick-thinking Camp Pendleton Marine stopped to help a family and rescued a toddler from a burning car last week in Fallbrook.

Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter was in the right place at the right time on Dec. 7 in Fallbrook when the car caught fire, KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego reported.

The whole thing transpired in just a few minutes, with the car quickly engulfed in flames, according to Wetter, a new father of triplets.

By the time Wetter reached the car, the child’s mother was out of the vehicle — saying her baby was stuck inside — and the father was trying to get the 18-month-old out of the car seat, which was stuck in the back of the car.

But the seatbelt was locked and the father wasn’t able to get the child out, the Marine recalled.

“At that point, the fuel tank could’ve ruptured on the car,” Wetter said. “There’s just a lot of … variables that go into it that you never think about.”

North County Fire Department was on the way, but wouldn’t have made it in time to save the car, and perhaps the child, KSWB reported.

North County Fire Capt. John Choi described the situation the family and Wetter were in as “hectic.”

“If you didn’t have a plan, it’s really hard to divert back to, ‘How do I get this child out?'” Choi said.

But Wetter did have a plan. He whipped out a knife, jumped into the burning car and cut the child free.

“What I would hope is anybody in my situation would help out,” Wetter said. “If my wife and my children were in that car, I would hope there was someone like myself that was willing and able to help out.”

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