NJ officers rescue man from burning car

HAMILTON TWP., N.J. - October 18, 2012

That's what happens when you save a life.

"I could see that he was breathing. He was unconscious," said Detective Dan Inman.

The driver of a burning car is alive because of two Hamilton Township police officers.

It was noon Wednesday when Capt. Ken DeBoskey and Det. Dan Inman responded to a report of an overturned car on Whitehorse-Mercerville Road near Cypress Lane.

The vehicle, a Volkswagen Jetta, had veered off the road, snapped a utility pole in half and was upside down and smoking.

"We pulled up and there was obvious smoke coming from the car, and one of the passersby said that someone was still in the car and said that the car was on fire," explained Detective Inman.

You can see what was happening in this dash-cam video from one of the patrol cars on the scene.

Officers are taught not to move an injured victim until medical help arrives, but DeBoskey and Inman say they couldn't wait.

"The flames shot up and out of the engine compartment by a couple feet, and I looked at Danny and he looked at me and I said we have to get him out of there," said Captain DeBoskey.

And they did, each grabbing an arm and pulling the driver out just two minutes before the car was fully engulfed in flames.

The officers say in a situation like this it's not something you give much thought to--you just act. And lucky for the driver, they pulled him out in time.

35-year-old Richard Punch of Voorhees is the man they pulled out of the car. We spoke with him by phone from Capital Health System-Fuld, where he's being treated for a head injury.

"Considering the fact my car ended up, from what I understand, bursting into flames; they saved my life. I'm lucky they were able to respond as quickly as they did. I'd like to say thank you," said Punch.

Captain DeBoskey and Detective Inman are not making a big deal about saving Richard Punch. They look at it this way: "It's a good day for everybody."

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