EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — The El Segundo police officer who risked his own life to pull a woman from a burning vehicle, returned to work Thursday.
Armando Rodriguez, a 17-year veteran of the force, insists he was just doing his job.
Rodriguez told CBS2’s Amy Johnson he didn’t think twice about racing over to the car to help.
“It never crossed my mind [not to help]. I just reacted and did what I did,” Rodriguez said, “It’s what I do as a police officer. What all of us do on a daily basis.”
The officer’s dashcam video captured just how scary and tenuous the situation was. Flames and smoke were engulfing the car.
Rodriguez was at the end of his shift Sunday when he got a call about a traffic collision near El Segundo Boulevard.
“I knew somebody was trapped in the vehicle. I couldn’t see them because of the smoke and fire. I was just thinking, I have to get this person out of the vehicle,” says Rodriguez.
The woman, unconscious and moaning in pain, turned out to be a 22-year-old.
Rodriguez has two daughters, one who is about to turn 22. So the accident hit home for him.
“It was difficult to get her out of the car,” he says, “I couldn’t see her. I was calling for her and just trying to get her and pull her back to where I could grab her.”
Rodriquez suffered some burns and smoke inhalation.
He told Johnson he would do the same thing all over again.
“I hope if my daughter was in that situation, someone would do what I did to save her life,” Rodriguez said.
The woman that Officer Rodriguez saved was released from the hospital Wednesday.
Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash.