Maegan Scruggs woke up to violent noise around 6:30 a.m. on March 25. In her front yard, an SUV had crashed into a tree and was engulfed in flames.
Phoenix Police Department Officers Rudy Castillo and Joel Kaminsky were the first on the scene. In body camera footage released by the department, the officers can be seen rushing towards the vehicle engulfed in smoke and flames.
“I looked over at [Castillo] and said, ‘we’re gonna be the first one’s there,’” Kaminsky said.
According to KHOU11 News, the man in the vehicle is believed to have had a medical issue that caused him to lose control and swerve off the road.
In the body camera footage, Officer Kaminsky can be seen trying to unsuccessfully break the car window to gain access to the car as the door was locked. Eventually, Scruggs’ husband threw them a fire extinguisher, which did the trick.
Kaminsky, who suffered a hand injury breaking down the door, performed CPR on the unconscious driver after the officers managed to extricate him from the fire.
Phoenix Fire and EMS then arrived and took over medical treatment of the driver and also treated Officer Kaminsky’s injured hand. The man is alive today because of the officers’ quick and heroic actions.
The officers spoke after the event during a press conference. “To give something back to the community, it’s a good feeling,” said Officer Castillo. Kaminsky added, “It’s a first responder for a reason, and we were first there. We were able to be successful, and it’s very rewarding.”
Scruggs, who witnessed the officers’ heroic actions firsthand, was also impressed. “Me personally, I think that they are true heroes,” she said.