Two deputies facing flames and a wall of black smoke worked together to rescue a woman trapped in a burning vehicle in Florida, dashcam video released on Wednesday showed.
The 3-minute video begins with Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Sunkel pulling up to a chaotic scene in which multiple vehicles are on fire and smoke billows into the air at the Oslo Road and 66th Avenue Southwest intersection around 10:45 a.m.
Two people are seen looking into a burning car, and when Sunkel approaches they indicate a person is trapped inside.
“Ma’am can you hear me?” Sunkel asks as he uses his baton to smash open the car’s passenger-side window.
The driver’s side appears too heavily involved with flames to approach.
“I can’t get her out of the seatbelt. … I need help,” Sunkel said as Deputy Linda Nolan arrives and runs to the car.
Sunkel warns Nolan, “it’s so hot,” as the trapped victim can be heard wailing from inside.
The woman remained trapped because of her seatbelt, the steering wheel and airbag, the Sheriff’s Office stated on Facebook.
Nolan then “began using her fire extinguisher to reduce the flames,” the post stated. “(but) the fire extinguisher made little difference as the vehicle continued to burn.”
Moments after fire officials arrived; around the 2-minute, 25-second mark of the video; the deputies were able to rescue the woman from the vehicle.
She was then airlifted to a local hospital in unknown condition.
Nolan sustained burns to her hand during the rescue, and was treated at the Indian River Medical Center.
“We are so proud of Deputies Sunkel and Nolan for their life saving efforts earlier this morning,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Video of the incident shows that despite danger to themselves, they continued to work to save this woman from her burning car.”
Highway patrol officials were investigating the cause of the crash, but the Sheriff’s Office said the woman was believed to have turned out in front of a septic tanker truck, leading to a crash involving the two vehicles and a refuse flatbed truck.
Warning: The full video may be difficult to watch for some viewers: