Watch: West Allis firefighters pull unresponsive victim from burning vehicle

WEST ALLIS -- Trapped in a burning car, West Allis firefighters made a miraculous rescue and it was all caught on video.

According to the fire department, the incident happened on July 18 near 56th and Lincoln. A man was unconscious and trapped inside a burning vehicle. As the flames grew, the firefighters worked quickly.

"Our crews quickly ran over to the car, broke the window with an ax and saw the gentleman in the front seat was still seat belted in the car and was unconscious," said Kurt Zellmann, West Allis Fire Department assistant chief EMS.

One neighbor who called 911 watched in horror as crews couldn't get the doors open.

"I believe it was three firemen went and pulled a man out and we were really upset because we did not know anybody was in there," said the neighbor.

Firefighters were able to open the door from the inside and quickly realized the problem.

Kurt Zellmann

"His foot was on the accelerator and the engine was revving the entire time which is probably what generated the heat to start the fire," Zellmann said.

The burn marks are still visible on the road, even a month later.

Thankfully, the man was dragged to safety where he was treated for minor scrapes and bruises. However, fire crews said it could have been much worse.

 

"Within a number of seconds, the windows would have failed and the fire would have gone into the cabin," Zellmann said. "With him unconscious, it's pretty unlikely he would have been able to get out himself."

"Just thankful he's alive," said the neighbor.

The occupant was a 60-year-old man. West Allis police said the man had been drinking. He was cited for his first offense OWI.