Watch: Police Race to Rescue Man Trapped in Burning Truck, Drag Him to Safety Seconds Before It Explodes


On May 24 in south Austin, Texas, a freak accident took place that quickly turned a truck into a fireball.

It was around 4:40 p.m. when first responders arrived to the Enclave apartment complex, and officers Eddie Pineda and Chandler Carrera were first on the scene.

Black smoke billowed out from the truck, making it impossible to see inside, but according to the Austin American-Statesman, a person standing nearby yelled, “He’s in there! He’s still in there! He’s in there!”

Without that person, the officers might never have known someone was trapped inside until it was far too late.

“Yesterday afternoon, several of our B-shift crews were called to The Enclave apartments in south Austin for a car fire that resulted when the driver suffered a medical emergency at that same time he had just finished backing into a parking spot,” the Austin Fire Department posted on Facebook on May 25.

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“His foot was still on the accelerator and he was unable to move it, causing the tires to spin continually in place, starting the blaze.”

Pineda was first to approach the truck, and body camera footage later released showed him breaking open the window and the smoke parting momentarily to show a man’s arm and leg.

When Carrera arrived, the two officers managed to drag the man out and away from the truck, and one of the officers commented that the man was having a seizure.

Shortly after the officers got the man out of the fiery vehicle, the truck exploded.

“I was just chilling inside and I heard a loud bang, kind of like when the [trash truck] comes and slams the dumpster onto the ground when they’re done emptying it or a transformer [exploding],” Tony Farmer, 36, who lives in a house nearby, told the Statesman. “Then the second time it happened, I was like, ‘Woah, that’s a little weird.'”

“It exploded a little bit, almost like in the movies, not like a huge explosion like atomic, but it engulfed more about 20 seconds after [the man] was removed from the vehicle.”

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“The whole thing was crazy,” he said. “Those cops … there’s no doubt about it — they risked their lives, and they’re heroes. There’s no doubt about it.”

The man who had been trapped in the vehicle has not been named, and no update on his condition has been made publicly known other than what the fire department shared — that the man “was subsequently transported to the hospital by Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services with serious, potentially life-threatening smoke inhalation injuries.”

The two policemen have since been recognized for their heroics, and the day after the incident each received a special award.

“Officers Pineda and Carrera received a chief’s coin of recognition for their heroic actions yesterday, in saving a man’s life from the vehicle fire,” Assistant Chief Robin Henderson tweeted on May 25. “Please join me in recognizing these two for their quick-thinking and bravery!”

If you ask Pineda, though, he was just doing what he’d signed up for.

“We just kind of showed up, saw what was going on and then just reacted based on our training,” he said.

“It feels good, but we don’t consider ourselves heroes. We’re police officers. That’s the job. We’re here to help people.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking