Firefighter, cop rescue driver from fiery crash

Officials said the rescue was an "act of bravery and professionalism"


Associated Press

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — An off-duty police officer and volunteer firefighter are being called "guardian angels" after authorities say they rescued a woman from a fiery crash on the Long Island Expressway.

Suffolk County police say Melissa Ortiz was heading east on the highway in Ronkonkoma when her vehicle collided with a National Grid truck around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday. The impact caused her SUV to overturn and burst into flames.

Ortiz was trapped in the vehicle. Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Mutarelli and Elmont volunteer firefighter Jeffrey Dupoux happened to be nearby and jumped into action, pulling Ortiz to safety with help from at least one other person.

Ortiz and the truck driver were treated at the hospital and released.

Commissioner Timothy Sini says the rescue was an "act of bravery and professionalism."

 
Off-Duty Officer, Volunteer Firefighter Rescue Woman from Burn...

OFF-DUTY OFFICER, VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER RESCUE WOMAN FROM BURNING CAR SCPD Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Mutarelli was off-duty and driving home eastbound on the Long Island Expressway when he witnessed the collision of a black Ford Expedition and a National Grid utility vehicle. The impact caused the Expedition to crash into the center median, overturn and catch fire. Officer Mutarelli sprung into action, using his car to block traffic and rushing over to the overturned vehicle. He was quickly joined by Jeffrey Dupoux, a volunteer with the Elmont Fire Department, and the two worked together to rescue a 23-year-old Medford woman from her car just minutes before it became engulfed in flames. "Officer Mutarelli and volunteer firefighter Dupoux, both of whom were off-duty during the incident, are truly guardian angels," Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini said. "They were at the right place, at the right time, and performed an act of courage that saved a life." The drivers of the Ford Expedition and utility truck were both transported to Stony Brook Medicine Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Posted by Suffolk County Police Department on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

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