Caught on tape: Civilians save man from car fire

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HOUSTON — Passers-by and a Houston police officer risked their lives to save a man from a burning car in southwest Houston on Tuesday.

Officials said a vehicle was rear-ended in a three-car crash and then it caught fire on the Southwest Freeway at Newcastle Drive shortly after 1:45 p.m. Witnesses said the driver was trapped because the road divider was wedged up against his door and then the car burst into flames.

“Poor guy. It was just terrible to watch him in there, and he couldn’t get out, and we just picked up the car and moved it,” witness Clement Macys said.

The driver was still trapped by his seat belt as the flames grew around him. Nearly a dozen Houstonians stopped to help, including a lieutenant with the Houston Police Department.

“People came from everywhere trying to get that man out of the car. It looked like they had given up when somebody cut the seat belt and released him,” witness Paul Darjes said.

The officer suffered second-degree burns on his hands and was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The driver was also taken to Memorial Hermann and his condition has not been released.

“There were a lot of civilians out here today. It was needed and they did a great job,” said Senior Capt. Ed Llewellyn with the Houston Police Department.

“That just shows you how when you get human beings together what we can do,” Macys said.

Four people in the three cars involved in the collision were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

Their conditions were not released. All but one southbound lane of the Southwest Freeway were shut down by the crash and fire, causing a backup in the area. All lanes have since reopened.