Davis police officer’s bodycam video shows harrowing rescue of woman from burning car

Local News

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) – A Davis police officer recalled the tense moments before rescuing a woman from a burning car.

It looks like a scene out of a Hollywood movie as Davis Police Cpl. Pheng Ly’s body camera shows him pulling a helpless woman out of her burning car and into safety. But the scene happened in real life Saturday night in the middle of Ly’s shift.

“I heard on the scanner through the CHP channel that there was an overturned vehicle, which was on fire,” Ly told FOX40. 

The accident happened on Interstate 80 near Highway 113.

Ly said the closest California Highway Patrol officer was at least 30 minutes away at the jail in Fairfield. Ly was just a couple of minutes away, so he hurried to the scene.

Shown through Ly’s body camera video, he reaches in and grabs the woman by both of her wrists and then pulls.

“It also dawned upon me that this lady’s survival was dependent upon my actions and my actions alone. So, she was depending on me to save her,” Ly said. “And I realized that this was a very dire situation and something needed to happen right away.” 

From Ly’s dashcam video, flames can be seen burning so dangerously close he said he could feel the heat on his face.

“It was right there and that’s when I realized this is very serious,” Ly said. 

Because of his quick actions, it took just a few minutes to rescue the woman. She was uninjured but the CHP arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Being a modest law enforcement officer with 21 years on the job, no one in his department realized the magnitude of Ly’s heroics. He hadn’t mentioned it to anyone.

But his colleagues were made aware after a supervisor viewed the video.

“That’s just the kind of guy that he is. I mean, he does this, he truly has a deep heart and love for it, and I’m not surprised at all,” said Davis Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov.

Doroshov said Ly will likely receive a life-saving award for his actions.

“Had she not been out of there within moments, that car’s fully engulfed, I believe she would’ve been deceased,” Doroshov said. 

“It was just something that I was there to do, and I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time,” Ly said. “I think it was of a higher calling, for sure.”

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