PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A teenage volunteer firefighter who helped rescue a police officer from a burning squad car after a traffic accident in south Philadelphia says he would do the same thing “any day of the week.”
Seventeen-year-old Joe Chambers said he was in the city Saturday when he saw sparks flying from the bottom of the police car after a crash in the Gray’s Ferry neighborhood.
“I started running full speed down the street and as I got to the car, the bottom of the car caught fire and then the hood caught fire … the door was jammed shut, I couldn’t get it open,” Chambers said Sunday.
He and a neighborhood resident, 24-year-old Dante Johnson, then helped pull 30-year-old Officer Mark Kimsey out through the window and moved him away from the burning vehicle.
“Right when we got him to the sidewalk, the engine compartment blew,” said Chambers, a volunteer firefighter with Leedom Fire Company in Delaware County. “Within 30 seconds, the whole car was gone.”
“If we hadn’t gotten him out in time, he would have been hurt bad,” Johnson said.
Another man was helped from a pickup truck that was also involved in the accident.
Kimsey was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was listed in stable condition.
Chambers, who had minor injuries, was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia but visited Kimsey and posed for a photo later that night.
“It felt great just to see that he was OK,” the Ridley high school senior said. “He (Kimsey) said, ‘I can’t thank you enough.’ I was like, ‘You don’t have to, it’s fine.’ I would do it any day of the week if I had to.”