Washington Deputy in Right Place at Right Time, Saves Man From Burning Car

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A deputy in King County, Washington, was driving along a fairly busy road when he spotted a woman on the side of the road, waving frantically at other cars passing by.

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The deputy, Sgt. Rich Barton also noticed debris in the road near where the woman was standing, he told KIRO7. The crash occurred near Maple Valley, about a 40-minute drive from Seattle.

“Nobody stopped. I was the only one that stopped. Cars were dodging her,” Barton told KIRO7. “I could see she’s all bloody. She has road rash, is dirty, and is crying yelling.”

It turns out the woman was pleading for help after exiting a burning vehicle at the bottom of the embankment. A man was still inside, she told Barton.

“I caught a glimpse of smoke and she goes ‘he’s still in there and it’s on fire,” Barton said.

The sergeant made his way down the hill to pull the man from the vehicle.

“When I pulled up the backs of the shoes were gone. You could see the feet. You could see the burns on the backside of him,” Barton told KIRO7. “The hat was fused to his neck, the baseball hat because it was that hot. I reached to grab him to help get him out, he was screaming and yelling. There was melted plastic on my fingers.”

Barton then pulled the man — who reportedly stood over 6-foot tall and weighed more than 200 pounds — up the hill and away from the burning wreckage. Barton suffered some burns himself along the way.

“I was worried about the car exploding,” Barton said. “It [the fire] was intensifying. I could feel it on my back because I was turning away from it. Then he’d roll back towards it and I’d feel it again.”

Other officers arrived about five minutes later.

Both victims were rushed to the hospital and both are in stable condition, Barton said. The man will have long road to recovery, he added.

As for Barton, he returned to patrol after suffering minor burns and some smoke inhalation, KIRO7 reported.

Read More: Pit Bull Saved From Fire Becomes Member of Fire Department

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