Dramatic video: Athens officer saves man in burning vehicle

- Dramatic video from an Athens-Clarke County police officer’s body cam shows him saving the life of a man trapped inside a burning vehicle.

The video posted on the Athens-Clarke County Police Department’s YouTube page shows the heroic actions of Senior Police Officer Dan Whitney.

Officer Whitney responded to a 911 call about a traffic accident on U.S. Highway 29 North at around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, August 16.

The caller told the 911 operator a bad wreck had just happened in front of his house, and he feared the vehicle was about to blow up.

When he arrived, Officer Whitney found an SUV engulfed in flames against a large tree, and a passenger yelling for help from a small rear window on the driver’s side.

The video shows Officer Whitney grabbing his fire extinguisher from his trunk to try to put the fire out, and then trying to get the man out of the vehicle.

The impact bent the vehicle’s frame and jammed all of the doors shut, so Officer Whitney bent the door frame back enough to pull the man through the rear window.

As he did this, an explosion from under the hood knocked off the officer’s hat and body cam.

Police say the driver died from the fire.

In the You Tube narrative, Athens-Clarke County Police said the passenger would have likely died as well, as the backseat was completely melted.

Other officers at the scene described the heat from the fire as unbearable from 50 feet away.

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