LAPD officer rescues man from burning car on 405 Freeway

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An LAPD Bomb Squad officer rescued a man from a burning vehicle following a fiery crash on the 405 Freeway Wednesday afternoon, reports the Los Angeles Police Department

Just before 2:00 p.m. on Christmas day, Officer Don Thompson, a 26-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department, was heading to work on the southbound 405 Freeway just south of the 101 Freeway when he saw a vehicle on the northbound side crash into the center divider. The vehicle immediately caught fire. 

Officer Thompson, who is a bomb technician assigned to the LAPD Bomb Squad, stopped his bomb squad truck, jumped over the center divider and ran to the burning vehicle to help. The driver of the vehicle was unconscious and still trapped behind the wheel as the flames began to engulf the front seat compartment. The car’s interior continued to fill with smoke and flames as Officer Thompson cut the man free from his seat belt. 

RELATED: Update: 1 lane opens after fiery collision on 405 (map)

Officer Thompson cut the driver free and pulled him out and away from the burning station wagon. Two citizens also stopped and assisted Officer Thompson. Within moments, the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames as Officer Thompson and citizens remained with the elderly driver. 

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel from Fire Station #83 responded to the scene and were able to extinguish the flames within a few moments. 

“The vehicle was fully involved when we arrived on scene,” said LAFD Captain Cameron Cress. “If the LAPD officer had not taken the quick action to rescue that man, this would have been a fatality. The Bomb Squad Officer definitely saved his life.” 

The driver of the vehicle described as an adult male in his mid- to late-60s, was transported to a local hospital for moderate injuries. Officer Thompson sustained serious injuries including first and second degree burns to his hands and leg along with smoke inhalation and abrasions.

Officer Thompson was treated by LAFD personnel at scene and later received additional treatment for his injuries at an urgent care facility. 

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