Barnegat Police today released dramatic footage from a rescue last weekend, where a man was pulled from a burning car.
On Aug. 31st at 10:35 p.m., Barnegat Patrolmen Nicholas Venuto, Andrew Parsley, and George Martin responded to a serious motor vehicle accident on Route 72. The officers arrived on scene to find a 1987 Chrysler Fifth Avenue had left the roadway and crashed into trees. The vehicle was on fire, and Agnelo Pereira, 86, of Waretown, was trapped in the vehicle.
Police said Pereira appeared to have suffered a "medical episode" and was not only trapped in the vehicle, but was clutching the steering wheel which he refused to release. Officers were able to pull Pereira through the driver's side front window of the vehicle and drag him to safety.
At around minute 2:04 of this video, police can be seen pulling Pereira from the car. At minute 2:22, officers pull Pereria further from the fire. At minute 3:00, officers decide to carry Pereira to a safer area, and at minute 3:15 a Good Samaritan can be seen assisting Ptl. Venuto, who is doubled over and suffering from smoke inhalation.
In this video, an explosion can be heard as the rear tire of the vehicle explodes.
Periera was transported by Barnegat First Aid Squad ambulance to a nearby airfield where he was airlifted by MONOC medevac helicopter to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center with serious burns to both arms and rib injuries.
Both Ptl. Venuto, who suffered smoke inhalation, and Ptl. Martin who suffered second degree burns to both arms remained on scene for over an hour fulfilling their duties.
"The actions of these three officers is nothing short of heroic. These officers did not have protective gear or oxygen masks. Despite that fact, and despite the fact that they were suffering burns and smoke inhalation, they refused to leave that burning vehicle without Mr. Pereira. With this rescue, they demonstrated incredible bravery and courage, and exemplified the greatest traditions of our profession," Lieutenant Keith Germain said in a press release.