The sheriff’s deputy heard the sounds of a crash and drove toward it.
When Cpl. Don Kabala arrived, he saw an SUV in the median along Crain Highway in Waldorf, Md. It was on fire with someone trapped inside.
He ran to the burning vehicle — with a fire extinguisher in hand.
A video camera on the dashboard of a patrol car captured the rest, showing flames coming from the vehicle and rescuers racing to help.
Kabala and others were able to save the man inside the burning vehicle on Jan. 29, and were recently recognized for their efforts. The man, 32, of Clinton, Md., was injured but was not in life-threatening condition.
“I’m proud of these officers for taking quick actions to rescue the driver,” said Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry in a statement. “They did what officers often do in dangerous situations and set aside any fear they may have had and helped save this man.”
Kabala, officials said, used an entire fire extinguisher from his patrol car. He managed to douse some of the fire at first, but it came back. When he opened the door of the burning vehicle, he saw a man who was semiconscious. His legs were pinned under the dashboard.
Minutes later, as other rescuers arrived to help, they were able to control the flames and pull the man to safety.
“Any of the guys I work with would have done the same thing,” Kabala told WTOP, which was among the first to report on the incident.