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Dramatic rescue caught on tape; heroes talk

August 20, 2010 12:57:58 AM PDT
Video on YouTube captured the frightening scene, as good Samaritans rushed to the rescue of a trapped driver in Sherman Oaks. The heroes spoke about the incident on Friday, saying they never considered the risk to themselves.The video is dramatic, and it can be found all over the Internet. A car crash sends a trail of gasoline and fire racing across the street. Bystanders ignore a wall of flames.

Then several people are seen charging into the danger to save the trapped driver.

"It just went and made a big ball of fire, and I immediately parked after that and got off and ran towards his vehicle," said Steve Sotelo.

The accident happened over the weekend. The driver, 69-year-old Robert Edlefsen, had been hit by another car on Burbank Boulevard.

As the flames crept up all around him, help came from every direction.

"I heard Steve yelling for help, and then I just jumped out of my car and ran over to him," said Chris Oxley.

The good Samaritans struggled to free Edlefsen. They thought he was pinned in the wreckage. Someone brought a fire extinguisher and doused the flames, and then finally, the heroes freed the driver.

The entire rescue took under two minutes - a race against time total strangers took on for another stranger. Oxley and Sotelo said they would do it again without hesitation.

"I wasn't going to let the guy burn. There was no way I was just going to leave him there," Sotelo said. "I made up my mind, I was just going to stay there with the guy. Thank God we pulled him out.'

Edlefsen suffered two cracked vertebrae in the accident, but otherwise, he is expected to be OK. There is no question in his mind that without his rescuers, he would have died.