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Wilton Police Release Video Of Dramatic Rescue Of Man From Burning Car

Video captured from one of the police vehicles' on-board camera systems of a rescue from a burning Range Rover on Thanksgiving Eve.
Video captured from one of the police vehicles' on-board camera systems of a rescue from a burning Range Rover on Thanksgiving Eve. Video Credit: Wilton CT Police Fiery Rescue J. Lynch
Six Wilton Police officers pulled a man out of a car just moments before it was fully engulfed in flames on the night before Thanksgiving, police said.
Six Wilton Police officers pulled a man out of a car just moments before it was fully engulfed in flames on the night before Thanksgiving, police said. Photo Credit: Wilton Police Department
The fire-damaged interior of a Range Rover in which a Wilton man was pulled from by Wilton Police officers before fire engulfed it.
The fire-damaged interior of a Range Rover in which a Wilton man was pulled from by Wilton Police officers before fire engulfed it. Photo Credit: Wilton Police Department
The damaged Range Rover from which a Stamford man was rescued before fire engulfed its interior cabin.
The damaged Range Rover from which a Stamford man was rescued before fire engulfed its interior cabin. Photo Credit: Wilton Police Department

WILTON, Conn. -- Wilton Police released video from an on-board camera from a cruiser of their role in the rescue of a 26-year-old Wilton man from a burning Range Rover after an accident last week.

Six officers struggled to free Hunter Stanfield, 26, whose legs were caught in an area underneath the steering wheel in the night-time crash on Nov. 23 at 198 New Canaan Road.

Hunter Stanfield, of 30 Bittersweet Trail, trapped in the front of his vehicle while the engine compartment burned.

The engine compartment was burning, and officers were finally able to pull him free just before the vehicle's interior was engulfed in flames.

"It was quite dramatic," Capt. John Lynch said Tuesday. "They saved his life."

Six officers, including two sergeants who were during traffic enforcement for Thanksgiving Eve, responded to the scene. They couldn't get the driver's door open, but they were able to get a back door and the back hatch open and crawled inside.

Sgt. David Hartman climbed into the front and worked to free Stanfield's legs as the other officers, all crammed into the vehicle, attempted to pull Stanfield out. At one point, flames from the engine compartment fire began to seep into the front passenger area, and one of the officers used a fire extinguisher in an attempt to beat it back, Lynch said.

“It was spreading fast," he said. "Time is off the essence there."

Meanwhile, Sgts. Gregg Phillipson and Arnault Baker and Officers Mark Canepari, Brandon Harris and Malcolm Hayes continued to try to pull Stanfield out of the vehicle as the flames continued creeping into the passenger cabin.

Finally, the officers were able to pull Stanfield out of the vehicle and put him down on the ground. However, the flames quickly spread and fully engulfed the vehicle, Lynch said.

"It was great teamwork," he said.

Stanfield was taken to the hospital with undetermined injuries, Lynch said.

Hartman later had to be checked out at the hospital for cuts to his hand and for inhaling some of the fire extinguisher chemical, Lynch said.

The case is still under police investigation, he said.

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