Rescue from fiery crash caught on camera in Delaware County

YEADON, Pa. - October 22, 2012

They raced the aid of a man who became trapped in his overturned SUV moments before it exploded into flames. And it was all caught on camera.

Security camera images show how the SUV driver lost control of his vehicle in the parking lot at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital at about 1:00 p.m. Friday.

After ramming into a traffic pole, the vehicle flipped and started going up in flames.

Fortunately, officers from Yeadon and Darby Borough were nearby when the 911 call came in.

Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineaux says those officers knew they had to act quickly.

"He was still conscious in the car. But the fire had already entered the interior section of the vehicle. In fact, his shirt arm and part of his pants were already on fire," said Molineaux.

Investigators say the fuel line ruptured during the accident and the gasoline caught fire as it leaked onto the hot engine.

The officers immediately started using their night sticks and landscaping rocks to break thru the windshield.

"Finally, after about three minutes, they were able to break the front windshield into two pieces and actually pull it out. By that time, the fire had almost engulfed the entire interior of the vehicle," said Molineaux.

The video shows how SUV erupted in flames moments after the victim was pulled out.

The 58-year-old man suffered severe burns to his arms legs and chest. He remains in stable condition at the Crozier-Chester Burn Unit and is expected to fully recover.

All five officers suffered minor cuts and burns during the rescue. They were treated and released from an area hospital Friday.

Now they are being hailed as heroes.

"They were in harm's way all the time trying to save this gentleman. If it weren't for the officers, this gentleman wouldn't be alive today," said Molineaux.

The five officers will be honored as heroes at the next Yeadon Council meeting on November 15th.

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