An Orange County deputy pulled a man from a burning car seconds before it burst into flames, and the entire incident was captured on dashcam video.
Deputies Shayne Stiefel and Gilbert Lascurain were patrolling Yorba Linda around 2:30 a.m. on July 18 when they spotted a burning minivan taxi that had crashed into a pole, according to KABC-TV.
At first, the deputies approached the vehicle with their guns drawn, screaming "Get out of the car!"
The driver's foot remained on the accelerator, but the vehicle was being stopped by the pole it crashed into.
"A million things (were) going through our minds at that time. Is this guy going to try to flee? Or is he going to try to harm us if we approach?" Stiefel told the news station. "The driver was incoherent but looking around, like trying to light a cigarette."
Two other deputies arrived to assist as the flames grew and smoke thickened.
Stiefel made the decision to go in for the driver. He opened the door, cut the seat belt and dragged the man to safety.
About 20 seconds later, flames engulfed the entire vehicle.
"It kept me awake the whole night thinking about what would have happened if we showed up, you know, 10 or 15 seconds later," Stiefel said.
Authorities later learned the 49-year-old driver had suffered a medical emergency when he crashed.