Longview officers praised for saving woman in burning car

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The nearby fire station was in the middle of a shift change

LONGVIEW, Wash. (KOIN) — Two fast-acting officers are being praised after they saved an elderly woman from a burning car during the busy morning commute on Monday.

Firefighters said if another minute had passed, that woman would have suffered smoke inhalation and burns at the very least.

The fiery crash happened near 14th and Tennant Way

Joe Darr, who works nearby, saw the dramatic rescue play out.

“I was just opening up my shop here,” Darr said. “I heard a very loud bang and the building kind of shook and lights flickered.”

He walked around the building and saw that a car hit a pole.

Behind the wheel was an elderly woman with flames inching closer and closer to her.

Darr said Officers Richard Gibbs and Mike Berndt were just moments away.

“He got here almost instantly when it happened and I’d say within another 30 seconds there was another officer pulling up,” Darr said.

Just a few blocks away, Fire Station 81 was in the middle of a shift change and while firefighters would eventually knock down the flames, the battalion chief praised the officers for their actions.

He wrote a thank you, which was shared on Facebook by Longview PD:

“I’m sure both Mike and Richard will claim it was, ‘no big deal.’ But Longview Fire was at shift change, this was close to Station 81, and it takes time to put on all our gear and get the rigs rolling. . . our response and reaction time on this event could not have produced the same outcome as having your troops in the right place, at the right time.

Longview Fire Battalion Chief Blake Tomlinson

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