An unknown Good Samaritan pulled a man from a vehicle engulfed in flames early Thursday and then disappeared into the night.
The man pulled from the burning vehicle sustained life-threatening injuries and investigators said had he not been pulled when he was, they would likely be investigating his death.
“If this Good Samaritan had not helped when they did, our investigation would look very different," said Turlock Police Detective Brandon Bertram. "This person most certainly saved the man’s life.”
Just after midnight on Thursday the Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to the 200 block of D Street after multiple calls reported a vehicle fire. Two of the callers stated they were alerted to the fire from a loud boom caused by the tires popping from the intense heat.
The first firefighters to arrive at the scene found the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. The firefighters also found a man in the alley way with severe burn injuries. The man was transported to a nearby landing site and flown to a burn center for surgery and treatment. As of 2:20 p.m. Thursday the man was out of surgery and still in critical condition, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.
Turlock Fire Department firefighters extinguished the fire and turned the scene over to the Turlock Police Department. Turlock Police detectives and an investigator with the Stanislaus Regional Fire Investigations Unit were called to investigate this incident.
Video surveillance obtained from the area showed that the burn victim had been in the backseat of the vehicle and that he was pulled out of it by an unknown rescuer. The rescuer tries both back doors, but is unable to reach the man, so he opens the hatch door and pulls the man out.
The Good Samaritan did not remain on scene and detectives are working to identify this person, asking that they come forward and provide a statement.
At this point, there is no indication that this fire was an arson, however, the cause and origin of the fire is still under investigation.
The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation to call Detective Brandon Bertram at (209) 664-7323. People can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at email@example.com.
The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.