Video: Off-duty officer praised after rescuing two from burning car in California


RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — An off-duty California police officer is being praised after he rescued two people whose car when into flames, as the rescue was caught on camera.

Stockton Police Officer Mark Afanasev was out driving when he said he “saw a car flipping over and sliding onto its roof.” “The second car was sliding into a pole,” Afanasev said.

Afanasev then quickly sprang into action to save the people inside the car.

“The only thing I could think of, these people are going to burn if I don’t help them,” he explained.

A man was able to get out of the car, while Afanasev ran into the flames to rescue a woman. While Afanasev jumped in, his wife called 911 from their vehicle.

The seven-year veteran with the Stockton Police Department says his training kicked in.

“I didn’t even feel the heat when I went into the flames. I didn’t feel it at all,” Afanasev said.

All of us at the police department are extremely proud of Mark’s heroic actions. Even while off-duty, Mark put his own life in danger in order to help rescue the occupants inside that burning car. This is just another reminder that law enforcement officers are never off the job when duty calls.

Police Chief Eric Jones

Afanasev said he was at the right place at the right time because he was contemplating going to bed and filling up his car the next day, but something told him not to wait.

Afanasev said he didn’t think what he did was anything special, and he hopes others would do the same thing in that situation.

“I can live with a couple of burns or whatever injuries I might get. I wouldn’t be able to live with standing by knowing that I could have helped somebody and now they are gone,” he told NewsNation affiliate KTXL.

The two people involved in the crash were taken to a local hospital. The cause of the crash is not known.

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