Off-duty Stockton police officer praised after rescuing 2 from burning car

Local News

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) – Quick thinking from an off-duty Stockton police officer is being praised after he rescued two people in Rancho Cordova whose car went up in flames.

Mark Afanasev described the scene near the intersection of Douglas Road and Sunrise Boulevard Saturday night after a car crashed into a pole and went up in flames.

“I looked over, I saw a car flipping over and sliding onto its roof,” Afanasev said. “The second car was slide into a pole.”

It was then that Afanasev sprung into action to save the people in the car.

“The only thing I could think of, these people are going to burn if I don’t help them,” he explained.

A man was able to get out of the car, while Afanasev ran into the flames to rescue the woman. While Afanasev jumped in, his wife called 911.

The seven-year officer with the Stockton Police Department says his training kicked in.

“I didn’t even feel the heat when I went into the flames. I didn’t feel it at all,” Afanasev said.

All of us at the police department are extremely proud of Mark’s heroic actions. Even while off-duty, Mark put his own life in danger in order to help rescue the occupants inside that burning car. This is just another reminder that law enforcement officers are never off the job when duty calls.

Police Chief Eric Jones

Afanasev said he was at the right place at the right time because he was contemplating going to bed and filling up his car the next day, but something told him not to wait.

Afanasev didn’t think what he did was anything special, he hopes others would do the same thing in that situation.

“I can live with a couple of burns or whatever injuries I might get. I wouldn’t be able to live with standing by knowing that I could have helped somebody and now they are gone,” he told FOX40.

The two people involved in the crash were taken to a local hospital. What led up to the crash is unknown at this time.

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