LAPD officer who rescued driver from burning car honored

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles police officer was honored Friday morning for his heroic actions after rescuing a driver from a car engulfed in flames on the 405 Freeway.

Officer Donald Thompson has served and protected for nearly 30 years.

Thompson was on his way to work on Christmas Day in 2013 when he spotted a burning car with an unconscious driver trapped inside.

Without hesitation, Thompson jumped into action.

"He forced open the badly damaged front door and after several attempts to release the unconscious driver from his seatbelt he finally freed the driver and dragged him out of the vehicle," Los Angeles Councilman Mitchell Englander described during the ceremony at Los Angeles City Hall.

Thompson, a bomb technician with the LAPD, suffered second-degree burns to his hands and face, but said he would do it again to save someone's life.

"If I am physically capable of doing it I would give it my best," Thompson said.

After being treated for his burns, officials said Thompson went right back to work.

Since that day, Thompson has received various awards including the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor from President Barack Obama.

Even after all the recognition for his heroic actions, Thompson said he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"Deep down inside I don't really feel as if I'm a hero," Thompson said. "I did something to help someone in a time of need."

Thompson and the driver remain in contact to this day. The officer had a message to share during his ceremony.

"We live in a time where people don't care much about each other and we need to start caring about each other a bit more," he said.
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