Watch Highway Patrol Officer Pull Two Young Children Out of a Smoking Car
Two women and two children, ages 1 and 2, were driving down the highway near San Francisco when suddenly their car burst into flames.
Luckily, a California Highway Patrol officer had been following their car, and was able to intervene.
"We heard a thump and I looked back and saw flames," passenger Jenny Torre said to the Monterey Herald. She said she told her mom, who was driving, to exit off the freeway and pull into a parking lot.
Officer Kaleo Clissold was already driving behind the Toyota Camry when it started smoking. He turned on the siren and, over the loudspeaker, advised them to pull over and get out of their car immediately.
A photographer from the Monterey Herald, who happened to be driving behind Clissold's car, was able to capture the whole thing on video.
"All of a sudden I just saw an explosion of smoke and flames," said Monterey Herald photographer Vern Fisher.
He said he could see smoking pieces of the car fall off as it exited, but the car didn't immediately stop.
The driver said she had no idea what was happening, even as she was pulling into the parking lot, as Clissold sounded his siren behind them, the Monterey Herald reported.
"Come here! Your car is on fire!" Clissold can be heard yelling to the driver.
But the door to the driver's seat and the back seats were locked. Torre's mom had to climb from the driver's seat into the passenger seat before she was able to get out of the smoking Camry.
Torre had tried to rescue her children in the backseat immediately after getting out of the car herself, but she couldn't unlock the doors. Clissold instructed her to step away before he freed the children from their car seats and brought them to safety, the Monterey Herald reported.
Relatives of the family said to the Monterey Herald that they were scared and shocked, which is why they appeared slow to get out of their fiery car.
All four occupants were treated on the scene and taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution for the smoke inhalation, a representative of the California Highway Patrol told the Monterey Herald.
The car was towed away after the fire was put out by the Monterey Fire Department.