APD officers recognized for response to two life-saving calls

Two Austin police officers are being recognized for their heroic efforts after saving a man from a burning truck Monday afternoon.

It happened at the Enclave apartment complex on W. Stassney Ln. The officers smashed the truck's window with a baton, opened the driver-side door, used a fire extinguisher, and dragged the man out. Seconds later, the vehicle exploded.

Officers Eduardo Pineda and Chandler Carrera said they're grateful they were able to get him out to safety.

"I just reacted, there wasn't much thinking going on," said Officer Pineda.

When the officers got on scene, they wasted no time adding there was no hesitation on what they needed to do.

"As I was running up to the vehicle one of the citizens started yelling out that he was still in the car," Pineda said. "I tried looking inside the vehicle, but there was too much smoke, I couldn't see anything."


Pineda said he tried to open the driver's side door, but it was locked. That's when he pulled out his baton and started to break the window. At the same time, Carrera was getting a fire extinguisher to help put out the fire.

"My original plan was to make sure no one got burned, but then it became apparent that he was a big guy and stuck in the vehicle, so I dropped it and pulled him out," he said.

The community and the department said what these two officers did is not only heroic but saved this man's life.


"There's no question about it," said Todd Farmer, a witness to the incident. "You can see the remnants of the truck. The guy was unconscious when they pulled him from the truck so there no doubt that he would be dead."

The two officers said they were just doing their job. "It feels good, but we're just police officers," Pineda said. "That's our job we're here to help people."

Carrera added that their only exception was they were caught on camera. "Everyone else in this department does things like this every day, ours just happened to be caught on camera," he said.

These same officers helped save a man who was shot near the entrance to the Onion Creek Greenbelt on Monday night, just hours after rescuing the man from the car. They said they're called out multiple times during a typical shift. But, two calls like these in one day - that's something that's never happened before.