Off-Duty Police Officer Saves Man From Burning Car

"I'm not the youngest guy anymore, but I did a full sprint. My training kicked in."

An off-duty LAPD officer helped save a man from his burning truck in Whittier after he crashed in late June.

The man, barely visible through the smoke from the crash, was not getting out of his pickup truck after the crash. His vehicle was about to be engulfed by flames when Sgt. Ernie Berry of LAPD's Newton Division noticed he was still in the car.

"It was starting to get more engulfed when someone said, 'Hey, he's still inside!,'" Berry said. "I saw some straps on back of his shirt. I tried to pull, but I guess he was delirious. He was trying to go back inside and start the car again."

The man had suffered some type of medical emergency. It took Sgt. Berry and the help of three good Samaritans to get him out of his burning car.

"I did a sprint!" the sergeant said. "I'm not the youngest guy anymore, but I did a full sprint. My training kicked in."

Whittier police had also arrived at the scene, but the situation was quickly escalating. They later went to Sgt. Berry's home in Whittier to personally thank him for his brave actions.

"It seemed pretty risky, what I was doing, but I was trying to assess it the best I can," Berry said. "I don't want to get in there and get burned either, but hey, sometimes you gotta."

Newton division Capts. Chris Waters and Michael Rimkunis said they are proud of Sgt. Berry's quick reaction.

"It's what our officers are trained to do," Rimkunis said. "To do it off-duty is a true example of his character and commitment to helping save people."

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