Sometimes, not often, the police can do some good.
Police Pull Man From Burning Car
updated 10:49 a.m. CT, Fri., Jan. 18, 2008
AMES, Iowa - Callers to 911 reported a car on fire in a mall parking lot, but no one knew that the driver was still strapped inside.
Lt. Jeff Brinkley was the first to arrive and the video from inside his patrol car clearly shows the entire back half of the car in flames.
Brinkley jumps out of his car and runs to the front of the burning car, at this point not knowing if anyone is inside.?The interior of the car windows were coated with thick black smoke.?
"The thing was just full of smoke and I couldn't see in at all," Brinkley said.
Brinkley leaned into the intense heat and broke out the car's passenger window.?Smoke poured out.
Brinkley reports back to police dispatch saying, "not sure if there's anybody in here or not, but there might be."
At that point, officer Clint Hertz arrived to help.?He ran at full speed and opened the passenger door.?Hertz can see someone is still inside the burning car.
"I guess I wasn't really thinking too much, other than just there's somebody in there we gotta get him out," Hertz said.
Hertz reached in and grabbed the man.?He and Brinkley both grabbed an arm and pulled the unconscious man away from flames.
The driver, Justin Hallberg, 21, was unresponsive but still alive.
"One of the doctors that treated the patient up at Mary Greeley said that he estimated that he had 30-60 seconds before he would have succumb to the smoke inhalation," Brinkley said.
Brinkley checks Hallberg's condition.? Hertz ran back to the car to make sure no one else was inside.?He put his head inside the car and at this point a burst of flames leapt right in front of his face.
"I never even noticed how much the car just went up in a ball of fire after we got him out.?It was real quick probably another 20 seconds and it was completely engulfed," Hertz said.
"I think when I went back and looked at the tape, from the time I got out of my car to the time that little poof went over Clint's head was like 62 seconds start to finish," Brinkley said.?"To go back and look at it from that third person perspective was really kinda sobering to me and that we were really close and knowing full well that there were some risks to us as well at that point."
Firefighter arrived and put out the fire...pictures
Hallberg spent the night in the hospital, but had no?burns.? He was treated for smoke inhalation.
The two officers will receive the Award of Valor next week at the Ames City Council meeting, the highest honor an officer can receive.
Police are still investigating the Dec. 28?accident and just released the in-car video Thursday.
They believe the car hit a light pole in the mall parking lot and that seared the gas tank, sparking the fire.
Police are also waiting for test results to determine if Hallberg had a medical condition or was impaired when he crashed the car.