Off-duty firefighter risks his life to save motorist in burning vehicle

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Washington State Patrol photo

An off-duty Grant County Fire District 6 firefighter risked his life to rescue a man from a burning car Sunday afternoon along Lake Lenore near Soap Lake, the Washington State Patrol said.

Daniel Baergen

In addition to being on fire, the up-side-down car was on the edge of a cliff when volunteer firefighter Daniel Baergen used a rock to break the driver’s-side window and pull the man to safety.

Washington State Patrol photo

The State Patrol said Eliseo Martinez was pulling a trailer with a boat on it just before 3 Sunday afternoon when his vehicle left the roadway and rolled.

The trailer detached and went down a steep ravine while the boat and car stopped just short of plunging down the hillside.

Martinez was transported to Columbia Basin Hospital in Ephrata and was cited for wheels off roadway and not having vehicle insurance.

“Ironically, our department spent yesterday training for this very type of incident,” the fire district said in a statement posted on Facebook. “Unfortunately, Dan had no turnout gear or jaws of life to rely on when he pulled this man from his burning vehicle.
Well done Dan!”