INDIANAPOLIS - Three police officers took turns trying to rescue a man whose car was engulfed in flames Friday night, police said.
Police from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were dispatched to the 6100 block of West 71st Street on a report of a personal injury crash with a vehicle on fire just after 11 p.m., officials said.
Off-duty Sgt. Dale Marshall and Officer Aaron Stanley arrived, and together, the two officers took turns braving the flames to remove the driver, 40-year-old Miguel Penaloza, from the burning vehicle.
"It was very hot, it was smoke-filled. We were trying to get the gentleman out of the car, the vehicle was actually hot, so I personally tried to get the door open, but couldn't get it open," Marshall said.
Officer Christopher Frazier arrived and feared for Stanley’s safety, so he grabbed him by his gun belt while Stanley maintained his grasp on the driver, who was on fire.
“The officers pulled the burning victim, who was literally on fire, away from the vehicle as its tires began to explode from the heat,” said Sgt. Linda Jackson, IMPD spokeswoman.
Officials said when the officers couldn’t extinguish the flames, Officer Stanley removed his uniform shirt and used it to smother the flames.
"It was just a lot of screaming, it was kind of chaotic. (It is) just hard to remember something like that because it's kind of shocking to see, but the main thing I remember is I kept seeing a cop running back and forth, like trying to get the guy out," a witness said.
Officer Stanley was transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns to his face and hands, IMPD said.
Jackson said he has been released from the hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Pendoza was also transported to Wishard. He suffered multiple compound fractures, third-degree burns over his entire body, amputation of his right foot and internal injuries. His last known condition was listed as critical, officials said.
Police said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.
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