On Sunday, two New Jersey State Police Troopers were able to rescue an unconscious male from his vehicle just moments before it burst into flames and dash cam video captured it all.
State Police troopers, Christopher Warwick and Thomas O’Connor took the call at 11:23 p.m. of a Ford Fusion on Route 42 in Gloucester Township that had crashed into a guardrail, according to police, Fox News reported. When the troopers arrived at the scene they found an unconscious driver, whose foot was stuck pressing the gas pedal.
Watch the intense rescue below:
The driver was identified as Anthony Branca, who was on his way home from work in South Philadelphia, ABC 13 reported.
Warwick said the call “came out as very generic.”
“You don’t really know what to expect but you weren’t expecting something as horrific as a car being on fire and someone inside of it,” O’Connor said.
“JUST GET HIM OUT IS ALL YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT”
— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) November 9, 2018
Shortly after police arrived, the front end of the vehicle burst into flames, spreading from the passenger wheel well. The officers knew they had to act fast.
As flames engulfed the underside of the hood, Warwick said, “We attempted to open the driver door and you can only open it 6 inches at best; it hit the guardrail and there’s no moving the vehicle.”
Troopers attempted to rescue Branca through a rear door, which was also unsuccessful.
They then tried the driver’s window. O’Connor said, “When we started tugging, we gave him some pretty hard tugs, he wasn’t moving at all right away. You are cognizant the fire is there, but I don’t think in that moment you truly realize how intense and how close it actually is.”
In the video, one of the troopers is heard yelling to Branca, “Your car’s on fire, bro.”
“Get out of the car,” one of them is heard shouting.
Branca regained consciousness after he was pulled from the burning car. He refused medical care, but police said it appeared he had no injuries.
Police said that Branca told them he must have fallen asleep at the wheel since he had been working very long hours.
O’Connor and Warwick both agreed that if either had answered that call alone, it would have been more difficult — if not impossible — to rescue Branca.
Branca was not available for comment.